November 18th, 2015

One of the primary targets of Islamist terrorism is the vast majority of moderate Muslims. Sometimes physically, but always psychologically. And they want the rest of us to do their dirty work for them. A prime goal of these acts is to engineer a schism between Muslims and Western cultures. To create alienation, and to make Muslims a target of fear and anger. The resulting exclusion, xenophobia, suspicion, and implicit or explicit segregation is a tool of radicalisation.


Do yourself a service and read the whole thing.

iPod Pro: it really is something else

November 16th, 2015

I’ve had the iPad Pro and the Logitech Create keyboard now for a couple of days and it’s really very, very different from what iPads used to be. I’m coming from the first iPad Retina, so it’s been a couple of generations in between. 

I’ve never before succeeded in writing anything more that emails with a short “yes” or “no”, or maybe a sentence, from any iPad or iPhone. It simply never was worth the pain. Now, I’m writing this very blog post on the iPad Pro. Using the Logitech keyboard, of course (there are limits; I’m still not prepared to attempt using an on-screen keyboard).

I’m using 1Password for all my logins, and it used to be that any login would be an “oh, no, not again” moment, since it would require switching to 1Password, logging in to it slowly and painstakingly, painfully copying the password, memorising the user name, switching back to the original app, manually entering the user name, painfully (usually takes two or three tries) getting the password “paste” option, then pasting the password, then finally logging in. Now I can slide in the screen from the right, select 1Password there, open it with my thumbprint (YES!), select the username, copy it using cmd-C (!), switch back to Safari (or whatever app I’m in) with cmd-tab, select the password field (if it isn’t still selected) and hit cmd-V. Just like on a desktop or laptop. Most of the keyboard shortcuts we use on a laptop work, like cmd-tab, cmd-X/C/V, cmd-space for search. You’ve got cursor keys on the Logitech keyboard. They’ve also implemented cmd-arrow to go to the beginning and end of lines, and top and bottom of the document. Free at last!

My productivity on the iPad has gone up tenfold, from almost zero to near desktop level. It’s for all practical purposes as productive as a laptop, but with the added ability to be comfortably used for reading, and drawing/annotations with a pen (which I haven’t gotten yet).

I’m missing only a few apps on the iPad, most notably Apple Remote Desktop. I’m not seeing all that much justification, except for this, for keeping a Macbook Air. Especially since the Air’s screen is atrociously bad compared to the iPad Pro’s screen.

So, no, this isn’t just another iPad, this is a game changer. 

Getting Bootcamp running

November 13th, 2015

This was an interesting experience. I wanted to get Windows running in Bootcamp on my new iMac 5k (late 2014 model). This machine has 32 GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD drive running OSX 10.11 (El Capitan). First, I tried following all the instructions to install Win 7 (I had a full Home Premium edition, not OEM, that I didn’t use anymore). I never got all the way, and the reason (after a lot of Googling with DuckDuckGo (!)) seems to be that Win7 doesn’t support USB 3 out of the box. So as soon as Win 7 starts booting it loses contact with the keyboard and mouse since the iMac has only USB 3 ports. And you can’t install updated USB 3 drivers in Windows 7 until it has booted. Maybe there’s a way, but seriously, I got enough after half a day and gave up.

Skip ahead a day or two, and after receiving a brand new Windows 10 Home, full edition, and I found out the following. Maybe someone will have less of a traumatic journey knowing this.


Boot Camp AssistantScreenSnapz001

When you use Bootcamp, you have two main strategies. One is to “Create a Windows 7 or later version install disk”, and the other is not to do that. Creating the install disk never works. It somehow corrupts the target disk, irrespective if it’s a USB 3 stick or a USB 2 external spinning disk. It always quits with “not enough space on disk” and some really weird sizes, with negative number of gigabytes used. If you look in console, you’ll see it always thinks the destination is just 4 GB large. Hopeless. That cost me untold hours, testing several USB sticks and several different external drives. 

The other strategy is to uncheck the first choice and leave the other two selected. Then the following steps work:

  1. Go to Disk utility and convert your Windows media (in my case a USB stick from Microsoft) into an ISO DVD Master file on your desktop.
  2. Insert a USB stick (USB 3 works) in one USB port on the iMac. Some people recommend the first USB port, closest to the middle of the computer. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but do it anyway.
  3. Start Bootcamp, select choices 2 and 3.
  4. Select the ISO file you created and let Bootcamp download software to the USB stick you inserted.
  5. As the iMac restarts into Windows, it may stay spinning the little juggler balls forever. If so, unplug your keyboard and mouse, and it proceeds. Plug them back in. If your mouse is connected to the keyboard, you have to unplug that, and plug in the keyboard without a mouse first.
  6. Once the first setup page appears, your keyboard may be dead. Unplug it, wait 5-10 seconds (!), then plug it in and it may work. If you have a wired mouse connected to the keyboard, you may have to unplug the mouse, plug in the keyboard, then plug in the mouse to get things going. That’s what happened to me, and I’m using a Microsoft Comfort mouse (4500).
  7. Now you get to the “Enter the product key” page. Enter the product key. Be only moderately surprised when it says the key cannot be verified. If that happens, then:
    1. Boot back into OSX and remove the Bootcamp partition again. Start over with the installation. (Yeah, I know…)
    2. Take care that you are not connected to the internet; disconnect any network cable before getting into Windows.
    3. Rinse, repeat. I had to do this four times before the code was accepted. (You know that old “Einstein quote” about true insanity being repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result? Well, it’s wrong. With Windows, insane methods sometimes work.)
  8. If you get past the product key registration, you’re almost there.
  9. Windows starts up, but it won’t recognise your second screen and sound will not work. The keyboard and mouse will remain flaky at boot. No WiFi adapter will be found, but fixed ethernet works.
  10. Now you need to actually install the Apple Bootcamp drivers (they forgot to tell you about that, didn’t they?). You should still have that USB key plugged in where Bootcamp put the install files and drivers. Open that drive in Windows, go to the folder “Bootcamp” and run the Setup.exe you find there (don’t run the setup.exe in the root). After that has finished, you’ll be asked to reboot.
  11. Now, back in Windows, you’ve got sound and multiple screens (if you have those). Works with my external HP30i, anyway (mini display port to dual DVI active adapter). WiFi adapter shows up, too.

So, that’s what you have to do.

Then, if you’re like me, you then discover you created a partition for Windows that isn’t large enough. And, if you’re like me, you’re not going to start over again, so then do:

  1. Boot back into OSX. Open disk utility and shrink your OSX partition to make space for expanding the Win 10 partition. How much is up to you.
  2. Boot back into Win 10. Download the Minitool Partition Wizard Free Edition and use it to “extend” the Windows 10 partition. When I did that, there was a little 150 MB FAT partition I had to delete between the Win 10 and the unallocated space, but that was really easy. This utility worked like a charm.

I almost forgot: after my first installation run with Win7, the machine refused to boot into anything, only coming up with “No valid operating system found” (or something to that effect). A typical Microsoft DOS boot fail message. I couldn’t reboot into OSX, since the keyboard didn’t work. Spent almost an hour on the line with Apple support, trying everything, growing desperate. Finally, we unplugged the keyboard entirely, restarted without any peripherals whatsoever, and got into a kind of partial and sick Win7, rebooted, and finally could make the alt-boot work to select OSX boot again. Honestly, I thought the machine was lost there for a while. Moral of this story: don’t fuck around with Win7 on OSX 10.11 Bootcamp. It’s not worth the fear and aggravation. I didn’t try Win7 again after that. It’s kind of a miracle I tried Win 10, really.

Finally, a sensible paper leaked

September 21st, 2015

White House officials have backed away from seeking a legislative fix to deal with the rise of encryption on communication devices, and they are even weighing whether to publicly reject a law requiring firms to be able to unlock their customers’ smartphones and apps under court order.

The whole paper, written on a typewriter and then scanned, can be found here. It’s really disturbing when you read a leaked secret paper from the NSC that actually makes sense and that you can agree with. What’s the world coming to?

Adpocalypse, or not

September 19th, 2015

Everybody’s on about the end of the web due to more and more people using adblockers. In one camp are the ones (me included) who are sick and tired of ads and tracking, and on the other side the ones accusing me and my kind of stealing content.

What ad providers try to do is to serve us as many ads as possible, hoping we’re interested in any one of them. At the same time, the whole tracking deal is to find out which ads we could be more interested in. That latter almost seems like it’s in our interest. Or would be if it worked better and didn’t involve the general creepiness of advertisers trying to read our minds and share it with others. 

But I think there is a solution. 

Imagine if you had a settings sheet in the browser or in an extension, where you as a user could declare what kind of thing interests you in general. The browser presents this selection to sites you go to, allowing them to present you with targeted advertising without a lot of second guessing. I, as a user, would be less frustrated, and wouldn’t want or need adblocking. The advertiser would have a much higher conversion rate. And the site owner could make such a preference header a requirement to visit the site. In exchange, there’s no need for tracking to try to guess my preferences; I already told you myself.

The beginning of the end of the DNS

September 7th, 2015

Or how the insanely stupid anti-piracy lobby will screw us all

Many of us saw this coming a long while back. Letting the **AA-holes misuse the DNS system for their censoring inevitably leads to the rise of a parallel DNS system. Yes, we already have the darknet for (other) illegal purposes, but this brings the darknet principle into the mainstream in a big way. 

“The censorship is easy to bypass, by simply changing your name server, so we decided to practice what we preach and offer such a service to all those affected by the problem,”


“The Pirate Party’s DNS has added benefits though, as it supports additional Top Level Domains including .geek or .pirate, and the Namecoin based .bit.”

It’s easy to see that this unregulated DNS system will quickly overlay existing domains with alternatives, either accidentally or intentionally. Phishing and DNS MITM attacks will be of an entirely new caliber. The actual “” will lead to a phisher. 
(My prediction for what happens then: with https becoming enforced, the **AA-holes will take control of who can have a cert, leading to the pirates providing new CA roots for users, leading to even the phisher having extended certs… hey ho, there we go.)
Any safeguards built into DNS clients will be switched off by the users wanting to get the “uncensored” internet. 
Can you imagine how hard it will be to convince users to responsibly switch between the public DNS and their respective alternate DNS systems depending on what they’re doing? If there even was any OSs that supported such domain-dependent switching to begin with.
Even if Microsoft, Apple, and Google would want to implement a dual (triple?) DNS client in their systems, the **AA-holes will certainly fight even that, since it would “enable piracy”.
No, I don’t blame the Norwegian Pirate Party for setting this up. I blame the anti-piracy lobby, and the politicians that take their money, for creating the “need” for these destructive designs. Can’t anyone stop them?

The Socrates of the NSA

August 11th, 2015

This is a disturbing look into the mind of an NSA employee. One wonders if it’s representative.

“I found myself wishing that my life would be constantly and completely monitored,” he continued. “It might seem odd that a self-professed libertarian would wish an Orwellian dystopia on himself, but here was my rationale: If people knew a few things about me, I might seem suspicious. But if people knew everything about me, they’d see they had nothing to fear. This is the attitude I have brought to SIGINT work since then.”


“We tend to mistrust what we do not understand well,” he noted. “A target that has no ill will to the U.S., but which is being monitored, needs better and more monitoring, not less. So if we’re in for a penny, we need to be in for a pound.”


“We probably all have something we know a lot about that is being handled at a higher level in a manner we’re not entirely happy about,” he wrote. “This can cause great cognitive dissonance for us, because we may feel our work is being used to help the government follow a policy we feel is bad.” Socrates advised modesty. Maybe the policy is actually correct — or perhaps it is wrong but will work out in the end. “I try,” he explained, “to be a good lieutenant and good civil servant of even the policies I think are misguided.”

Where have we heard this before… 

How stupid can you be…

August 7th, 2015

Read this in Jerusalem Post, couldn’t believe it. I know Swedes can be real useful idiots, or useful real idiots, but this? Did a quick search, and yes, Swedes can be even greater idiots than I ever imagined. They actually did it. It’s true. Rewarding voluntary ISIS fighters after homecoming. Way to go.

Congrats, Sweden. If there was a dumbass competition for city councils, Stockholm should get first price.

Win 10: It’s a joke, and nobody’s laughing.

August 7th, 2015

Interesting review by Allen Cobb. This doesn’t bode well for Windows. Sooner or later I will have to see it for myself.

Another couple of years?

June 14th, 2015

My Mac Pro is an early 2008. Over the last few years, it’s been losing function by parts. It’s like chip rot. First the firewire didn’t work right, lots of transfer errors. It may even have been that way from the start, but I always thought it was the LaCie drives or firewire hubs that screwed things up. So I stopped using firewire entirely.

Then the RAID gave me trouble, which turned out to be disk bay 1 being flaky. With or without the RAID card, bay 1 would give me disk errors even after replacing the disk. The bad disks worked fine in other bays, though.

The last couple of months, the machine started beach balling a lot, getting so slow I would almost scream. Dragging selections in Muse could take ten or twenty seconds to do, while they were instantaneous on my Macbook Pro. USB started to be flaky about a year back, with bad sound quality and dropouts using a USB headset. A few years back the upper DVD reader stopped working, too.

After a couple of months, I reinstalled OS X to no effect. Running TechTool Pro and Diskwarrior on the disk had shown no significant errors, but it took forever. Very slow disk reading. I then moved my system disk from bay 4 to bay 3, and the beach balling went away immediately. So now I was down to two functioning disk bays.

I’ve been eyeing the new Mac Pro, but the lack of serious disk space keeps me from going for it. And the price, of course. Decent alternatives would be a second hand 2010 or 2012 model. Or, I figured, trying to fix my 2008. The only thing I could think of as being the cause would be the disk cable harness (unlikely), the motherboard, or the power supply. You have to start somewhere, so I figured a new motherboard would be a good thing to do. Turns out you can get them for a decent price nowadays. I found a vendor on eBay that has a stack of them for $165, and they claim they’ve been tested before shipping. So I bought one, and got it less than a week later.

Today, I switched motherboards. It’s a pretty invasive thing to do to your Mac Pro, but you can do it in two or three hours without rushing it. Nothing broke, and I’m writing this post on that machine a few hours later and everything seems to work. I’ve moved the system drive to bay 4 and the machine remains snappy. No beach balling. I’ve installed a 4 TB in the previously really bad bay 1, and it seems to work normally. I’m having a glimmer of a hope this machine will work fine for another year or two, or maybe more. At least until Apple releases a decent modern replacement (if ever…). Below you’ll find a few pics of the process.

The new board arrived completely intact and well packaged in a sealed antistatic bag.

New motherboard in sealed wrap

Looks clean.

New board unwrapped

The machine before the slaughter. Note the unused (and unusable) bay 1. Bay 4 only serves for a slow drive with some old info. That slot is pretty slow in itself, hasn’t given any errors, but lots of huge delays (beach balling).

The machine before the slaughter

After removing the memory risers and the cards:

After removing memory and cards

Out goes the front fan:

Front fan cage removed

Then the turn comes to the memory cage. There’s a trick to this involving sliding the fan into the cage after releasing a few tabs. Read up on it carefully before attempting. iFixit has a good description.

Memory cage

Now it’s time to remove the three heat sinks. The two CPU sinks must be removed to get the main board out of the case, so you can just as well take the third sink (north bridge) as well.

Heat sinks

“Interestingly”, all the sinks are held in place by 3 mm in-hex screws. Three of these screws are right in between the three sinks so you need quite a long hexagonal screw driver to get them out. Luckily, the iFixit kit has both the right bit and an extender that was just long enough and narrow enough to get the job done. Most online sources say “flat screw driver”. Don’t believe them. It’s a hex you need.

Extender screwdriver with 3 mm hex bit.

The north bridge sink:

North bridge heat sink

One of the CPU sinks:

Lower CPU sink (B)

Time to disconnect the antennas. Do snap a pic first so you can look up which cable went exactly where. They’re nicely labeled, but there are no markings on the boards to correspond with the cable labels. Also, the antenna cable labeled “2” is over to the side somewhere and is not connected to anything. 

Airport and bluetooth boards

Now you have to take out the speaker assembly in the lower front of the case. There’s a screw holding the motherboard in place that you can’t get at otherwise. 

Speaker assembly

After disconnecting a truckload of connectors and carefully wiggling for a bit, out comes the old motherboard.

Old motherboard

A good use for old iTunes cards: scraping thermal paste from the CPUs and the Northbridge. (The north bridge isn’t necessary, since this one is on its way out, but its a good trial run for the processors.)

Scraping paste

Use a decent cleaner and lint-free cloth to remove the rest of the old thermal paste after scraping it off with the plastic card.


One of the sinks after cleaning. Looks great!

Clean sink

The processors look fine, too, after cleaning:

Clean processors

Time to strap up before removing the processors:

Antistatic strap

An empty case with a lot of loose cables:

Empty case

Putting thermal paste on the north bridge and the CPUs. I’m using the procedure recommended on the Arctic Silver site. Except I unintentionally modified it to be messier. With this procedure, very little paste goes on the sinks.

Past on chips

And then you put back the motherboard, the sinks and all the rest. And cross your fingers and boot. Oh, your machine now has a new serial number, but really, who cares?

I used the opportunity to blow away all the dust from all the parts using compressed and dried air. This machine has never been this clean before.