This post is more to create some awareness for the existence of the shortcuts in the new twitter web interface as of december 2011. As you will find at the end of the post, you will be able to access these shortcuts during the standard usage.

New Tweets/Messages
N = New Tweet
R = Reply to Tweet
M = Make Direct Message
. = Load New Tweets(on "x new tweet(s)" at the top)
F = Make Tweet a Favorite Tweet
T = Retweet Tweet
J = Next Tweet
K = Previous Tweet
[Enter] = Open Details of Tweet
L = Close all open Tweets
[Space] = Page down
/ = Search
Easy Goto's
G->H = Home
G->C = Connect
G->R = Mentions
G->D = Discover
G->P = Profile
G->F = Favorites
G->M = Messages
G->U = User(asks for name)
Need more help?
? = These shortcuts during the use of twitter

When you come home you sometimes just wanna crash on the couch, turn on your TV and watch some series, a movie. Other times you come home and you still have loads to do, but you would like some nice music in the background. Either way you would like some multimedia solution in which you can easily access your movies, TV series and music. A real hype in the last few years have been mediacenters, it has become a whole new market in which Popcorn(not the snack), AC Ryan, Boxee, Med8er and even Apple TV have become popular. Many TV’s you can buy nowadays have simple mediacenter solutions included.

Now I don’t wanna say those solutions aren’t good, but a geek like me likes to make such a solution himself from some old computer hardware which would just be collecting dust otherwise. So already years ago I built my first mediacenter, based on Windows MCE(Mediacenter Edition) complete with matching remote control and remote keyboard. Tho times have changed and nowadays I am way more Open Source minded then I was before. So I wanted to built a mediacenter based on Linux, which has several mediacenter distributions even. But stubborn as I might be I wanted to make an XBMC mediacenter, basically since it looks slick, works nicely, works with my windows MCE remote and has a nice webinterface + android app to control it in various ways. Now I installed my mediacenter last year already with XBMC with Xubuntu as underlying linux distribution. But we are one year further, so I thought I could do it again this time.

So this time I set another challenge for me, I wanted to make my mediacenter installation itself as small and light as possible with minimal effort. I know, just figuring out that balance is already quite an effort, but I think I found quite a good solution which I wanna share with you that gave me an XBMC Pre-11.0 installation on Ubuntu 11.10 with easy setup and is working as intended so far.
Again, this post wont give you all the detailed descriptions as I think it’s all pretty straight forward for any person that is willing to give this a try.

To give you a brief overview on which I built my mediacenter, quickly my specs: AMD 3500+, 1024MB memory, ATI X1950 VGA card, SoundBlaster Live 5.1 soundcard & 500GB Disk. Yeah, its not the best hardware, but therefor more excellent that XBMC works perfectly on it. I did put the hardware in some nice looking Nox case with blue lights last year, so it wouldn’t be really bad to look at it as it stands under my TV.

First of all I downloaded the Ubuntu Server 11.10 CD, you might think why for (put in some deities name) I used Ubuntu Server, well for the plain simple reason that I tried the minimal installation CD at first, but it have me headaches. I also saw once before that you could do a minimal install with the Ubuntu Server CD, so thought this was easier and would therefor match my needs.
So after I downloaded the CD, I used “usb-creator-gtk” to put it to an USB disk so I could boot it on my box, so I did do that next(you didnt see that coming, did you?)
Then at first you have to choose a language and then you get this menu where you can choose to install Ubuntu Server, Install some cloud solution from Ubuntu, check the disk for errors, check your memory and… well you know that screen if you ever installed Ubuntu Server. If not, then you ‎will recognnize it with this description.
In that screen is one of the keys to my, so I would like to think, wonderful solution. Press F4 at that screen and somewhere at the bottom in the center you will see a small popup menu where you can choose for “Minimal Install”(or something like it, just dont choose the Virtual option). After I did that, I choose “Install Ubuntu Server” and went thru all the settings like telling it to use my entire disk(yeah, i made backups of my data), giving the timezone and creating a useraccount(I didnt make the xbmc specific account, just a account to connect with SSH later) and that kinda stuff.
One of the things which was important to me here was that I choose “SSH Server” in one of the components which you can choose at a certain stage, so I could get my lazy ass on the couch and sit way more comfortable and configure the rest from my laptop.
After it was done it would boot nicely into some text login screen, which was great since I wouldnt have the overhead of any gui, desktop manager and window manager on my box.

So next I moved my ass to my couch, put on some music on my laptop since there was the backup of my old xbmc, and started an SSH session to the freshly installed machine. There is where I logged on with the account created during the installation proces and started the installation of XBMC. I first started with the normal team-xbmc/ppa, but that didnt have repositories for the 11.10 ubuntu, so I then used the team-xbmc/unstable ppa instead with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties pkg-config
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:team-xbmc/unstable
sudo apt-get update

After that I could install the XBMC core with:

sudo apt-get install xbmc xorg

Now I didnt have to worry about special drivers since my crappy videocard isnt supported by the good drivers, so I could start with the useraccount. Now I will type the order a bit differently then I did them, but only to have it in the proper order in this post:

sudo apt-get install uxlaunch
sudo apt-get install policykit-1
sudo adduser xbmc --gecos XBMC<
sudo usermod --group adm,sudo,cdrom,floppy,audio,video,plugdev,fuse,polkituser xbmc
sudo apt-get install xbmc-live

After that I could login once as xbmc and type:

xinit xbmc-standalone

to see if it would launch properly, which thank (put in deity name) it did.

Next I just ran some commands to make sure my sound would work in a later stage(especially nice when you like to listen to some music):

sudo apt-get install alsa-utils pulseaudio

and then I ran:

sudo alsamixer

now later that night I figured that “MM” would mean Mute, which you can toggle with the “M” key on your keyboard, but since F1 would give me the Gnome terminal help instead of the alsamixer help, I wouldnt figure that out till late that night.
i saved my sound settings with:

sudo alsactl store 0

Then I rebooted my machine and see if things would start automatically, which it did, but I couldnt control it with my fancy MCE remote, so there was still some work left to do.
First the remote control, which is as easy as:

sudo apt-get install lirc

and then choose the Windows MCE remote and one of the matching digital receivers.
Then I wanted to be able to add some functionality like shutting down, rebooting, automounting disks, so used the following commands:

sudo apt-get install upower acpi-support
sudo apt-get install udisks usbmount
sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

(which was already installed, but better safe then sorry)
some editing via:

sudo nano /etc/usbmount/usbmount.conf


FILESYSTEMS="vfat ext2 ext3 ext4 hfsplus"


FILESYSTEMS="ntfs vfat ext2 ext3 ext4 hfsplus"

(notice the extra ‘ntfs ‘ in front, that’s the only 5 chars you had to type)
Then making sure some policies where alright by:

sudo nano /var/lib/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/custom-actions.pkla

and adding the following text into that file:

[Actions for xbmc user]

Now I had only one problem, when I would try to play MP3’s my XBMC would crash and start back up. Now at least I didnt have to go thru the inconvenience of starting it manually every time, but it would be nice if I could play mp3’s, since still most of my music collection are encoded with that codec. Soon I found that all I had to do was:

sudo aptitude install libmad0

To get it working, in the meantime I had run:

sudo aptitude install gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3

Not sure if that latter had any impact, but wanna be sure that anyone using this post as guidance wont get stuck on that.

Now I have been able to write this post, while listening to some music that was on an external disk attached to the XBMC box without any hassles, so that’s already a great confirmation it works. I played some movie samples last night to make sure video works properly as well and that also worked great. I installed addons like subtitle downloaders, weather info by just using my remote, so also that part works.
Now I will be enjoying my XBMC mediacenter, if you are crazy enough to use this chaotic post as an advisory to try so as well, please also keep the following link open, since it has been a great source of info to me(you will see where I found all those fancy commands):


It’s a Wednesday eve, around 11pm when i start writing this. Many thoughts run through my head, just like normal, and I am trying to figure them out.
There is good news though, my thoughts are again getting one step closer to completing my puzzle of life.
Though I am still not sure how many more steps to take, nor how many pieces this puzzle has.
But there are things I do know, many things. Are they equal to what I don’t know already?
Far from it, I don’t think I will ever get to a stage where what I know gets to a similar level of what I don’t know.
Since over the years of my life, the more knowledge I gained, the more I also started to know what I didn’t know yet.
And then I am not even getting started about what I understand and don’t understand.

For every question I found an answer to, I found at least two questions with it.
So here I am, nearly 30 years of roaming this planet. With more questions then answers, yet many would say I grew smarter.
I like to think so myself as well, and for many of the questions I have accepted that I wont find an answer.
Now this isn’t because I am a quitter, but because I found the answer to not finding answers.
It’s not that I don’t care about the answers anymore, since there is this curious part of me that would like to get them.
Also it’s not about the answers not being out there, since for the questions that play on my mind the most I know there are answers.
Have I given up on finding the answers? No, I don’t consider it giving up either.

Again, it’s a Wednesday eve, 16th of November to be exact. About 11:20 now. Many thoughts have run through my head and I haven’t written them down yet.
I will write those down over time. But I need to find a right way to express those thoughts in words.
Kinda tricky isn’t it, all these thoughts. But thoughts are more then just words. Often even hard to grasp them with words.
So what are thoughts? Neuroscientists might start about signals in your brains, creating connections in that gray mass.
I would like to use the word big, since if you think about how many cells there are up there, it is quite impressive.
Especially if you realize how they are able to cooperate and control something even bigger.
Your body itself is already many times the mass of your brains, no matter how skinny you are. your brain mass is smaller then the rest of you.

Now your brains are able to control then just your body. Something most of us can do, or are at least capable of doing, is driving a car.
This car has become like a exoskeleton to our body at that moment, controlled by our thought process. Since you do have to think during driving.
Tho I am sure that in many cases those thoughts are limited to “how do I look in my rear mirror” and “what radio-station should I put on”, it also includes more functional thoughts like “what’s my current speed?”, “am I exceeding speed limit?” and “should I brake or not”.
Then there are the questions like “why is this guy in front of me driving so slow?”, “couldn’t that guy have used his indicator?” and “why is that guy put lives at stake by driving like a maniac?”
And even those become irrelevant to the one question one is asking himself “where am I heading? and how do I get there?”. Even when you are just driving for fun, without purpose, and you know you aren’t heading anywhere at a certain stage you will have to stop at a gas station.

At that stage your thoughts are already controlling a path, you know where you are coming from and you know, or dont know on purpose, where you are heading. This can be a short ride to a local store or a long holiday trip to a foreign country.
So at that stage your thoughts are already controlling something much bigger then your body and your car, it’s already a track which you have been in control of. Not exactly, since there where some obstacles to get around, most like require you to at least brake a little, probably even steer a bit.
But overall you were in control of the track, knowing what you wanted to be ahead. Quite something your thoughts controlled, right?

Now I could start about the distances you might overcome by walking, biking, driving and maybe even flying and how they are nothing compared to the distances of the universe from which you might not be able to even think of how to put out your track there.
Instead I would like to use this track your thoughts have controlled as an analogy to your life.
Since whether it is a short or a long one, with little or many obstacles, as long as you know where you are heading, you are in control of it.
Answers to questions related to why others are driving the way they do become irrelevant when you know where you are heading.
And your thoughts arent just signals in your brains, they are your life. They determine where you are heading and eventually who you are.


(sorry for my english readers, but this was a reaction to a dutch post and considering the subject I saw no use of translating it to english. If you are interested in the contents please click the following link)
Als een reactie op deJaap over Zwarte Pieten. ik heb onderstaande ook in zijn reacties achter gelaten, maar wilde het vastleggen hier zodat het niet aan 1 of andere vorm van censuur onderhevig is.
Als eerste mijn complimenten voor je blogpost en de beroering die het toch heeft veroorzaakt.
maar om even je argumenten 1 voor 1 af te gaan:
“Zwarte Piet is geen neger. Hij is zwart van het roet.”
Ik ben niet met je eens dat zwarte piet moet worden afgeschaft. Al helemaal niet door het onder de noemer racisme te schuiven. Er ontbreekt namelijk een zeer belangrijk element om het racisme te kunnen noemen, namelijk dat zwarte pieten geen ras zijn.
Zelfs wanneer je op de uiterlijke kenmerken gaat splitsen is er geen sprake van een xenofobie, want ze worden toch hartelijk verwelkomd.

“Volwassenen maken hier een probleem van. Kinderen vinden het helemaal niet racistisch!”
Zelfs als je dan mening van kinderen tegenover die van volwassenen wilt gaan uitzetten, weet dan wel dat het volwassenen zijn die veel termen hebben uitgevonden. En gezien de eerlijkheid van kinderen op die leeftijd zal ik eerder naar hun mening luisteren(in zaken als deze) dan naar die van volwassenen, die gevormd zijn door andere volwassenen van een generatie eerder.
En over het argument dat kinderen ook bang reageren op pieten, over welke leeftijd hebben we het dan? 2a3jarigen, de leeftijd waarop veel kinderen sowieso eenkennig zijn?
Witte puntmutsen en rode armbanden met Swastika’s zeggen kinderen niets nee, das maar goed ook en we hebben de verantwoordelijk om te zorgen dat ze deze betekenis nooit hoeven te leren kennen.

“Maar het is traditie!”
Ik ben met je eens dat we niet in een statisch geheel leven, dat alles om ons heen veranderd. Echter dienen tradities niet om verandering tegen te gaan, maar om mensen iets te geven wat sociale samenhang veroorzaakt. Juist in een tijd waar de techniek en bepaalde politieke ideologieën dit uiteen lijken te drijven is het juist goed om tradities die zorgen voor sociale samenhang te koesteren. We sluiten geen rassen uit, we beledigen er geen, we kijken met zijn allen uit naar die gezellige zwarte pieten die tussen hun acrobatische stunts door ons van cadeaus en lekkers voorzien.
“Waarom zeuren die mensen eigenlijk zo?”
Als eerste ben ik wel toegeroepen door een kind in de supermarkt asl zwarte piet zijnde, zij het wel dat ik als zwarte piet was verkleed. Echter ben ik ook in mijn leven als brilleJood(Jood ja, over racisme gesproken), beugelbek en professor decibel nageroepen. Dus ik weet hoe het is om het is om nageroepen te worden om uiterlijke kenmerken en zelfs oppervlakkige kenmerken als intelligentie.
Moeten we dan ook maar brillen en beugels gaan afschaffen? Moeten we alle stereotypische figuren in kinderseries gaan afschaffen omdat ze ooit kunnen worden gebruikt om andere kinderen op een kwetsende wijze na te roepen?
En wederom, tegen mij was het bewust kwetsend bedoeld, ik geloof niet dat een kind van 5 in de supermarkt dat kwetsend bedoelde.
“Het is verwarrend voor kinderen als die pieten ineens groen worden.”
Helemaal mee eens, maar het is nog veel moeilijker om die kinderen uit te leggen zodra ze 8 jaar zijn en we ze de waarheid over onze goedheiligman moeten vertellen waarom we de pieten ooit groen hebben gemaakt. Dat “grote mensen” zo verpest zijn door onze maatschappij dat ze zelfs in een onschuldige “traditie” iets kwaads kunnen zien.
Plus in het kader van verandering zou het zou maar kunnen dat we over een paar jaar aliens over de vloer hebben welke toevallig groen van kleur zijn, wat gaan we dan doen? weer iets anders verzinnen omdat we onze nieuwe overlords wel eens zouden kunnen beledigen ermee?

In plaats van ons allemaal zo druk te maken over racisme en politiek correct te zijn, laten we eens beginnen onze kinderen te tonen dat zoiets simpels als huidkleur en een opvallende outfit geen reden zijn om er vreemd op te reageren, laat ons onze kinderen leren dat dit geen verschillen zijn maar eigenschappen. Leer onze kinderen om op ieder levend wezen hetzelfde te reageren en ervan te houden zoals wij van onze eigen kinderen houden. Mogelijk he, mogelijk, hoeven onze kinderen dan nooit te leren wat die witte puntmutsen en rode armbanden met Swastika’s inhouden.


There are many masks one can wear, visible and invisible. Some are clear, while others are very subtle.
Masks do have a function, either protection, disguise, performance or entertainment.
Over time several masks have become a symbol, whether or not they can be interpreted in different ways.
An ice hockey mask can be seen as a symbol for the sports or for the Halloween Horror movies.

Now symbols can be strong, the more they are being shown the stronger they become.
With this strength they can spread an idea, a philosophy.
And by spreading the idea, they become even more powerful.
That way the circle of symbols goes round.

Now there have been a lot of masks over time, all a symbols of their own philosophy.
Many people have been wearing these symbols to empower them.
The philosophy under a mask is never that of just one individual,
not in showing it, nor in creating and maintaining it.

The Guy Fawkes mask has gained quite some strength as a symbol the last few years.
Guy Fawkes had to fight the religious surpression in the UK, 400yrs later it still exists in this world.
Now I am not religious, but I do believe one should be able to believe as one feels comfortable.
And it’s great to realise that the Guy Fawkes mask is worn by people from different religious backgrounds.

With V for Vendetta the philosophy has grown to a broader political perspective.
Our governments are requesting our silent obedience and approval to matters we havent agreed on.
They use the fear there is nowadays to introduce more and more privacy intrusive regulations.
Yet they fail to be completely transparant about what is being discussed and decided.

Now more recently it has shown that banks and big capitalistic companies arent much better.
We have trusted them with our money and they have been giving it out to their directors with fancy bonusses.
But they have been building a ‘Jenga’ tower, secretly putting some blocks in their own pockets and faking this economic growth.
Now the economy is about to collapse, they wont take responsibility, making the taxpayers fill in the missing blocks.

This has brought us to a situation where 1% of our population that cheated has got everything.
But the other 99% is forced to pay for their lies and deception thru taxes.
Still being forced to pay ridiculous amounts of interest on their mortages, while the interests on their debet accounts are being cut back.
And our governments refuse to take proper action to stop their dirty tricks.

So what’s under the mask? Under the mask is an individual with an idea, a philosophy:

  1. One should not be judged by his nationality, racial or religious background.
  2. Freedom of speech and free access to information shouldnt be a privilege, but a fundemental right, Every person should be granted the privacy to use these fundamental rights.
  3. 1% of the population shouldnt be more important then 99% in a democratic system.
  4. People that cheat with ‘Jenga’ should give back the blocks and not be allowed to ever play the game again ;)

11-11-11 there will be the Night of A Thousand Masks, where you can empower the mask,
Where you can empower the symbol, the idea and the philosophy. But also help shaping and maintaining it.
So if you think nothing has to change, go ahead and watch another talentshow sponsored by the capitalistic companies.
But if you have just the slightest desire to make a change, put on your mask on 11-11-11.


Hackers aint new, they are around for several decades now.
Still most of you have no real idea of what a hacker is, what drives a hacker.
Because of this ignorance they have no idea about what they are trying to achieve.
Yet they seem to have an increasing amount of power in this digital era,
Which you should fear right? Like they are criminals, right?

But realise that organisations like Anonymous are able to unite people;
from different races, nationalities and religions.
Something our governments are failing at for years now, but what do you expect when those governments wage wars, murder, cheat and lie to us.
Yet they are currently portraying organisations like Anonymous as if they are criminals, terrorists even. Isnt that ironic?

Below is the Hackers Manifesto from Mentor, already written in 1986.
It gives a good insight in the mind of a hacker, what they think like, what drives them, how they look at the world.

I would like you to read it, I would like you to understand.
I would like you to realize who the real criminals are!

The following was written shortly after my arrest…

\/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/


+++The Mentor+++

Written on January 8, 1986

Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager
Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering”…
Damn kids. They’re all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain,
ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what
made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
I am a hacker, enter my world…
Mine is a world that begins with school… I’m smarter than most of
the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me…
Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.

I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain
for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms.
Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…”
Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is
cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I
screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me…
Or feels threatened by me…
Or thinks I’m a smart ass…
Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here…
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike.

And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through
the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is
sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought… a board is
“This is it… this is where I belong…”
I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to
them, may never hear from them again… I know you all…
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…

You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at
school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip
through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or
ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals. We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek
after knowledge… and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us
and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual,
but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.

+++The Mentor+++


Below is a speech from the movie ‘V for Vendetta’, since it’s the 5th of November I watched it again. Now with this post I would like to suggest that you do the same. Maybe if you watch the movie or watch it again, you will see what I see. Maybe you will start to understand why the Guy Fawkes mask that the character V is wearing has become a symbol for Anonymous and Occupy. And maybe you will think what I think during the following speech on TV:

Allow me first to apologize for this interruption.
I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of the everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.
I enjoy them as much as any bloke.
But in the spirit of commemoration – whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday – I thought we could mark this November the fifth, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak.
I suspect even now orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way.
Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.
Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.
And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice…intolerance and oppression.
And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance, coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.
How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable.
But again, truth be told…if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be?
War. Terror. Disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.
Fear got the best of you and in your panic, you turned to the now High Chancellor Adam Sutler.
He promised you order. He promised you peace. And all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.
Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten.
More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory.
His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice and freedom are more than words – they are perspectives.
So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked.
But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek…then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament.
And together, we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever, be forgot!


After a long day at the office he comes back home, quickly eating a microwave meal and crashing on his couch. As he turns on his laptop to see if anything is going on online, his doorbell rings. When he opens the door some kids from the street are nearly screaming with their high-pitched voices “trick or treat”. “Just a minute” he answers as he thinks quickly if he has any candy left, a quick check in his supplies shows he still has some lollipops. As he returns he can see the impatient looks on the painted faces of the kids “here you are” he says with a smile.
After he returns to the couch, his screen is showing the login screen. He enters his password and leans back. “damn, i am tired” he sighs. While the laptop automatically loads up his standard programs, he closes his eyes for a moment. Tired as he is, he doses of.

The monitor of his laptop is everything but asleep, it seems to more active then normal even. While his email client retrieves new messages, small eyes seem to pop up on the screen. He seems to fall further asleep and the more he does, the more the eyes become clear and get a white blurry effect around them as if they are about to pop out. His laptop now seems to start levitating, like it’s being pulled up by the white silhouettes which have eyes that shine like red leds in the dark coming out of his the screen. The more white silhouettes with their bright red eyes rise from the screen, the more high-pitched sonar-like sounds fill his living room.

Suddenly he wakes up by the sounds produced by the white silhouettes causing a terrible pain in his ears. “What the Hell” he shouts as he sees his livingroom being filled will 100’s of these silhouettes. He looks at his laptop and sees the number behind the text inbox increasing rapidly, for every time the number goes up another silhouette floats out of his screen.
In the meantime the high-pitched sounds are being fired in a rapid speed around his livingroom He feels the sound entering his ears, like needles on his eardrums. “Pings of Death” he suddenly realizes, and he closes the lid of his laptop as fast as he can. “And these must be the Ghost Emails I have been setting up to see where that spam is coming from.” He gets up and tries to fight himself thru the white mass, being continously confronted with enlargement pills, cheap replicas and fake e-cards. He tries to run, but feels how the load of all of this is making him react sluggish.

As he gets into the hallway a bigger nightmare awaits him, his old and once beloved windows server had turned into a zombie. How painful was this, because of the ping and smtp floods it was running even more slow then ever before. Now that wasnt a bad thing at the moment, since he could easily dodge it because of that. Making way into the bedroom. Just before he closes his door he sees how the pings of death, that had waken him up just a few minutes ago, reach the Windows server. Zombie or not, it’s tcp/ip stack still wasnt able to deal with such a flood as long as anything was listening. It turns blue instantly and screams some final white hex-codes before it breaks into a thousand pieces.

“Finally it crashes when I need it to” he thinks to himself as he closes the door and places his nightstands in front of it to barricade it. “Now how do I get rid of all these ghost emails” he thinks to himself as he sits on the bed. “I gotta find a way to delete them without opening the screen of my laptop”. Quickly he grabs his android smartphone, as he browses through his apps he sees it. A ssh client, he knew that would come in handy one day. He quickly opens it and selects his laptop in the pre-configured hosts. A prompt appears on his screen, “Key? Crap I forgot about that. Think, think, think” as he smashes his  phone against his head, thank god it was no apple, since it would have been completely bruised. “Of Course” he nearly shouts in excitement as he starts typing fiercely “thank god I didn’t have to type my entire password on this device” he says as his thumb presses enter.

“No lets kill that email client” as an evil grin appears on his face, while getting the processlist on the small screen.  “Process 666, I could have known” as a quick “kill 666″ follows. A sigh of relief escapes from his mouth as he checks the processlist again. The sigh of relief is being followed by a loud “holy crap, the bastards catched it”. His fingers slide over the keyboard again and then he hears the sounds in the rest of his house fade away. Quickly he checks again and then balls his fist. “Damn right, nothing survives a good ‘kill -9′”. He logs into his mail-server via another secure shell and cleans out any emails sent to his ghost-addresses. When that is done he opens the lid of his laptop and starts his email-client manually. Ready to close the lid if necessary he sees the number hehind inbox drop quickly to 1.

At that moment he wakes up from his powernap, looking around seeing no indication of what he had just dreamed of actually happened. He looks at his inbox and smiles when he reads the subject of the only unread email in there “Weblog.LileDevil.Net wishes you a very nerdy Halloween”, unaware that the bright red leds of  thedigital clock behinds him show 6:66PM.


Although I am quite aware this title brings back horror to both men and women, it being for complete different reasons, I couldnt think of a better title.
No, this is no spam to sell you something, but I am going to convince you that you should have some enlargements. Tho not thru pills, surgery or any wondercremes.
How long is yours really? 6, 7 or even 8? That is really not big enough anymore. Nowadays you should have at least 12, but preferable even longer.

You can stop looking at yourself now, I want you to think back about the last time you typed your password.
Was it longer then 8 characters? Since if not, even a cheap videocard crack your password within half a days. Ofcourse this all depends on the complexity of your password, but doesnt make that much of a difference, besides you dont really want complexity.

I know that for years IT people, including me, have been advicing and enforcing complex passwords. Have we been wrong all along? No, 10 years ago that was a valid security advice.
However in the current times that advice has been outdated and we should start changing our mindset on what a secure password is when an average computer can crack a 10 character password within 1 day.

Now think about the following, what is more easy to remember and type “P@s$W0rD!”(8 characters) or “Iwant1veryeasypassword!”(22 characters)/(27 characters).
The first password might be shorter and therefor less keypresses, but you have to admit that you would have to think about it more. Was the first or the second ‘s’ to be typed as a dollarsymbol? Was the ‘o’ a capital ‘o’ or the number 0?
The second is a lot more keys to press, but it feels natural since it’s more a normal sentence you are typing, you write the capitals where it is supposed to and add in an exclamationmark.

I dont think anyone can say the second is harder to remember and at worst it takes a little longer to type, but if you get used to it you will start typing it faster.
And passwords like the second one are so easy to come up with. Use a sentence with a reference to a movie, song or quote that you like, making it personal and not common.
Here are a few of my suggestions: (I made these up and aint using any of these myself, so dont bother trying to hack me now :P )

  • “4 Beatles in a yellow submarine”(31 characters)
  • “I saw all 6 Starwars movies 3 times!”(26 characters)
  • “There is no I in team, we are 1!”(32 characters)

Now I know that not all websites allow you to use these long passwords yet, for example my own insurance company didnt allow me to create a password longer then 12characters.
Maybe your own IT department might not even allow these passwords, but feel free to show them this text. Any person in IT has to see that this is more secure and easier to use.
Yet all these reasons should be no reason for you not to at least try to use a long password, since in the end your password is your responsibility!

I hope you gained some insights about your own (password) size and sincerely hope that when we will meet, you can and will say that yours is bigger then mine!!

PS: I got my inspiration to write about this after I saw the following cartoon on XKCD
Password Strength


I am prolly gonna say something others have said before, supporting my thoughts with the same reasoning others have done before. But clearly it has not been enough yet. This morning I read Hackers put Telstra in filter bind” and after the news from last week that in the Netherlands we are getting more netneutrality, on the other side of the globe things have been heading another way. Now you could ask why even bother, since it’s on the other side of the world, different country, different continent.

The simple reason is that there are still people living there, people that I think have the same rights for information and transparancy as we do in the Netherlands. Now does this mean I am completely against filters? No, but that requires some explanation. For that I need to make some distinction between ‘mandatory’ and ‘voluntary’ filters and how transparancy works in this.

Voluntary Filters

What I understand under Voluntary filters are the filters you can enable or disable yourself. Whether they are filtering malicious websites, viruses or certain content. Whether this filters are run on the computer itself, on a broadband-router/modem or that traffic is being guided via these filters is also not important to me, as long as it can be disabled at any choosen time and being opt-in if this is being offered as an service by an ISP.

Mandatory Filters

What I understand under Mandatory filters are filters that are being pushed upon people. It are filters that people can not easily disable or workaround. Filters that have been implemented without the consent or approval of the person trying to access the internet. Most important, these filters have no option to opt-out under any condition.


Apart from whether a filter is voluntary or mandatory, they can also be transparant or not. Transparancy in this is a easy way to get a current listing of what content is being blocked from you. Where certain domains(sex.com), tld’s (.xxx) will be more static, also dynamic sites( sites injected with malicious code ) should be listed. This so the people that have choosen to use a filter, can also see what exactly they have chosen to be be inaccessible for them and why. Whether it is temporary or not.

Having explained this I can say that I can support Voluntary filters, assuming they are transparant, to have people choose not to be able to receive certain content. Mandatory filters are a whole different story tho. I cannot approve of mandatory filters on the internet, no matter what the reason of it is or whether it is transparant or not. Mandatory filters are a violation of the Human Rights since no other living being can tell another what he can or cannot read and believe.

I don’t support all what’s out there on the internet, I dont like certain ideas people are having and I certainly dont like to see how they  sometimes show those things. Now there is certain content I think 99.999% of the human population has moral issues with and would like such content to be inaccesible. Even without naming it any further I think everyone knows what I am talking about, since it has become the number 1 reason given why there should be filters on the internet. I must say that I got moral issues with this content as well, but blocking this content wont make it go away. Though it wouldn’t disturb 99.999% of  the internet population, it’s still there. The people that really want to gain access to this information will get to this, sharing their knowledge of how to get around it and the whole blocking mechanism has become ineffective. I mean, if we start blocking news about wars, catastrophes and worldhunger, tho it wont disturb most of the people not to be confronted with it any longer, but it will also still be there.

If there is content that is clearly beyond the moral limits from our society and our laws support that, then the judicial system should take care of that. Now some will say that such wont help, since with the laws are different and some content will always be able to be put on the internet from another country in a legal way. Now I understand the frustration that would raise with many, I think we should try to persuade their governments to change their laws via diplomatic methods.

I mean, if we want to prevent something from happening, we should actually try to prevent it from happening and not choosing an easy way out by closing our eyes or the eyes from those that have no interest in seeing it anyways by implementing filters. This is why I believe we should never ever implement mandatory filters.

p.s. During writing this article, Bits of Freedom posted the following link, might be interesting to see our currect dutch political view on netneutrality: http://bit.ly/lphuX5