Welcome to Cor & Julie's journal

The fallacy of economic damage due to piracy (Rants, XS4ALL)

Recently the unthinkable happened. The company I helped create was forced by court order to filter content. Even though European, and now German courts have found that filtering content is a bad thing, a dutch court sided with BREIN (similar to RIAA/MPAA) and told us to block The Pirate Bay. Everyone with half a brain knows these kind of blocks are only temporary while technology routes around this censorship.

What these kinds of insane reactions to an unfixable problem show is that the music/movie industry does not know what moves the modern consumer. They’re trying to regulate the industry as if it was still comprised of people moving video tapes around. As a consumer I am perfectly willing to pay for content. Actually, I’d much rather pay for content than having to deal with finding it online and wondering if it’s been backdoored by scammers. But modern technology has shown me how content delivery COULD be, and I am now unwilling to go back to the dark ages that the content industry allows me.

What I want is to see TV, movies, music, games, when I want to see it, and how I want to see it. For many US people this sounds inconceivable, but over in Europe we often don’t get to see TV shows until years later. This is unacceptable to me, so I route around that censorship. This is not my choice, it is the choice of the content industry that still operates like a dinosaur. Give me a way to consume content how I want it, and I will pay for it. Anyways, other people have talked about this more eloquently and it’s not what I came here to say.

What irks me lately is that especially in the US the content industry is throwing around numbers that boggle the mind. The US economy is losing 58 billion a year due to piracy and that’s why the world (yes, this concerns the world) needs draconian laws like SOPA. This is not about the US economy at all. This is about the bottom line of big industry players that want another percentage in their profit margins. The US economy as a whole suffers very little, because when you download a song and don’t spend money on buying that song on CD or itunes, you have money left in your pocket to go see a movie (oh irony) or buy some coffee at starbucks. So what these big industry players are really mad about, is that you’re spending your money elsewhere. It has nothing to do with the US economy.

Content creators around the world, stop fighting us, but work with us to give us what we want instead of what you want. You’ll find most people are perfectly willing to pay for what they want.

Dear turkish hackers, Im not THAT Cor Bosman (Hackers, Rants)

For the last 20 years I’ve pretty much been the only Cor Bosman on the interwebs. This makes life so easy, as I never have problems getting a login name anywhere. Unfortunately, recently a guy has shown up with the same name as me. This wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s an extreme right wing *BEEP* that was even kicked out of the PVV (right wing racist political party). If you get kicked out of the PVV, you must really be pretty low on the human scale. His main hobby seems to be slandering immigrants.

So dear Turkish hackers, I am not that guy. Thank you for understanding :)

twiskezuid (Rants)

The city is build a new neighborhood behind our house. Not a big deal, and it may even get us some positives. I just wish they would clean up the mess they found there. http://twiskezuid.nl

Een berg dode kanaries (Computers, Hackers, Rants, XS4ALL)

In kolenmijnen was het vroeger normaal om een kanarie mee te nemen. Deze kanarie had de belangrijke rol om vroegtijdig koolmonoxide in de lucht te detecteren zodat er geen doden vielen.

Bij veel van de grote automatiseringsprojecten van de laatste jaren hebben hackers (en onderzoekers) een soortgelijke functie vervuld. De waarschuwingen waren duidelijk en gingen over zaken als paspoorten die onveilig bleken, stemcomputers die oncontroleerbaar waren, persoonlijke medische gegevens die gemakkelijk in te zien waren en een OV-chipkaart met bar slechte beveiliging. Het antwoord van de verantwoordelijken op die waarschuwingen was en is steevast hetzelfde. Het loopt allemaal zo’n vaart niet, het is te ingewikkeld voor de gewone mens, de impact is klein. Het pad van veel grote automatiseringsprojecten ligt zo bezaaid met genegeerde kanaries.

In ‘Alles kunnen hacken is niet fijn’ (Opinie & Debat, 29 januari 2011) gaat David Hessing nog een stapje verder. Hij maakt gewoon de kanaries verantwoordelijk voor de koolmonoxide, door te suggereren dat de problemen met de OV-chipkaart er niet zouden zijn als de hackers, die anonieme, onbegrijpelijke en daardoor kennelijk onbetrouwbare groep, gewoon met hun vingers overal af zouden blijven. Zonder hackers had niemand immers geweten dat de OV-chipkaart onveilig is en zou niemand daar misbruik van maken. Daarbij wordt ook het morele kompas van hackers in twijfel getrokken. Vergeten wordt dat het juist hackers zijn die dit soort onderwerpen op de maatschappelijke en politieke agenda zetten en zorgen voor verbeterde en veiligere oplossingen. Wees blij dat er nog iemand aandacht aan besteedt. Nu is het een OV-kaart, straks is het misschien je eigen medische dossier dat door gebrek aan deugdelijke beveiliging door iedereen is in te zien.

Ik ben bijna 20 jaar geleden met een groep hackers een bedrijf begonnen. In dit bedrijf staat, ook nu nog, de hacker-mentaliteit centraal; kijken of je iets ook op een andere manier kunt gebruiken dan hoe het bedoeld was. Bij alles wat we doen wordt kritisch gekeken naar de impact op privacy en veiligheid. Dit zorgt voor extra werk en frustratie aan het begin, maar uiteindelijk biedt het alleen maar voordelen: het leidt tot betere veiligheid en dus hogere kwaliteit. Ik kan iedereen sterk aanraden om hackers te omarmen en hun input juist te zien als positieve bijdrage. Dat scheelt op termijn een hoop geld en ellende.

Cor Bosman

Cor Bosman is mede-oprichter van XS4ALL en werkt nog steeds bij die internetprovider als hacker, programmeur en netwerkbeheerder.

(this response appeared in the VK on monday february 7 2011)

Launching our first Geocoin (Geocaching)

We just received our first personal Geocoin and are about to set it free onto the world. A Geocoin is an item that travels from Geocache to Geocache. People are supposed to take it from a cache, and place it into another one. Through the geocaching.com website you can track the progress of the coin, and see where it ends up.

Eastern Fields images (Diving, Photography)

In november/december 2009 Julie and I visited the Eastern Fields area in Papua New Guinea, joining a Wetpixel.com expedition with Eric Cheng and Tony Wu. We did two back to back trips on the Golden Dawn, the only liveaboard that visits the area. The Eastern Fields is a pretty remote atoll between Papua New Guinea and Australia, 450 nautical miles wide, consisting solely of submerged reefs. Nearest land is half a day’s travel away.

We knew before we went that this was going to be mostly a wide angle trip. That was going to make it a bit different from our usual trips, as Julie and I both like macro. The area was visually stunning, and Carl’s Ultimate was probably the most beautiful dive site I’ve ever seen. When the current picks up, the amount of life on that reef is so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. But a lot of this lushness was hard to photograph, and more suited to video. At some point I just stopped taking photo’s and watched the splendor in action.

Nevertheless we did take a lot of images, and even managed to take some macro shots.

read on to view our gallery

Geocache Hike (Geocaching)

We’re back in St Croix and noticed there are at least 10 new geocaches this year. For those that don’t know, a geocache is sort of a treasure hunt using a GPS. You get a GPS location and get there any way you can to find the treasure. Then you take something from the treasure box, and leave something of your own. It’s great fun.

One of the new geocaches is not that far from the house we rent. Or at least, not when measured in a direct line. Walking it is quite a different matter, as it includes two very steep hills that are pretty difficult to walk in the full sun. But we decided to do it anyways, and had a very nice afternoon. It took us three hours to complete the hike, find the cache, and walk back, but it was well worth it as the views during this hike are spectacular. Now on to the next cache!

Read on for some images..

wordpress from svn (Photography)

On a recent trip to Papua New Guinea my friend Eric Cheng suggested (on advice from his friend Alex King) I use SVN to maintain my wordpress installation that runs this blog. I used to just download the latest version, and unzip it right into my blog directory. Works fine. Only problem is that you lag behind as wordpress releases a new version only every few months, while svn updates happen daily. I’m already very familiar with SVN, as we use it extensively in our office for coding projects, and I use it myself as well for some plugins I made for Roundcube.

So today I switched my blog over to SVN, and it all went without a hitch. I checked out the latest version 2.9.1, and copied over my own theme and some plugins, and it all worked immediately. Hopefully this will make updating easier in the future.

My first Half Marathon (running)

I recently started running, primarily so I could do the “Dam tot Dam” race, a 10M race between Amsterdam and neighboring town Zaandam. I enjoyed it so much that the day after the race I entered the Amsterdam Half Marathon race. This is a 21K (13 mile) race through the center of amsterdam. The race was yesterday, and Im really happy with my results. I finished in 1:57:03, which is pretty much average looking at all the runners. Not bad for someone that only started running a few months ago. I’m now contemplating training for a full Marathon next year, something I never thought I would actually even think about.

Heading to PNG in November (Diving, Photography)

We haven’t done a lot of diving this year, but at least in November we’re going all out again. We’ll be traveling to Papua New Guinea to dive the Eastern Fields area. This isn’t a regular destination due to the conditions, but we’re hoping for the best. We’re joining Eric Cheng and Tony Wu for 2 trips on the Golden Dawn, a boat we’ve seen before near Kimbe in PNG.

After that month we’ll be back in Amsterdam for the holidays and then off again to visit Julie’s mother in the Virgin Islands.

Amsterdam 16K run (Photography, running)

My whole life I’ve been into sports. From many years of soccer, basketball, tabletennis and other assorted sports as a child, to racketball, diving, martial arts and horseback riding as an adult. One thing I’ve never been good at though is long distance running. I was fine at sprints, but don’t ask me to run more than a few kilometers cause I would just collapse before the end. So it came as a real surprise to me that when I started running a few months ago, I suddenly was able to push past the 5K, 10K, and even 15K limit. After I finished my first 15K leisure run, I decide to see if there was any space left in the Dam tot Dam run. This is a 10 mile/16K run from Amsterdam to Zaandam, which happens to go right past our house. I always watch it, but this year I wanted to run myself.

Unfortunately there was no space left, but I was in luck. This year the organization added a second run the evening before to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this run. The night run still had spots left, so I signed up and continued training.

The run was last saturday, and I’m really happy with my result. I finished the 16K run in 1 hour 29 minutes and I took my iPhone/GPS running app with me.

More »

Solid State drive in my Macbook Pro (Computers)

For a long time I’ve been meaning to put an SSD in my Macbook Pro. Julie’s Thinkpad X200 already has one, but I couldn’t decide which one I wanted. The Intel X-25 was high on the list for a long time, but in the end I bought the Samsung 256GB mainly because I wanted more than the 128GB the X-25 gives me. The 2009 model of the Macbook Pro makes changing your boot drive really easy. All you do is open the battery compartment, remove 1 screw, and out comes the drive. A lot easier than previous models I’ve opened up. It took all of 5 minutes, most of which was spent removing some spacers from the old HD and putting them on the new SSD.

When I booted up, I noticed it took a lot of time for the machine to go through it’s initial BIOS/POST phase. I remembered my friend Eric had a similar problem, so I asked him how he fixed that. Turns out all you have to do is set the new drive as your startup disk in Preferences. Now it boots in less than 30 seconds, and that includes starting up a dozen or so tools.

solid state drive

Back from Hacking at Random (Computers, Photography)

The last 5 days I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in months, maybe years. Being a geek at heart, the HAR2009 conference was a truly magical event. Not only was the weather perfect, but the talks were of a very high quality. Most importantly, I was able to meet up with many many old friends. People I hadn’t seen in years, or sometimes even longer. It’s kind of strange to see people that you used to hang with, suddenly have 2 kids that can not only walk, but swim.

As you can read in my previous post, HAR2009 is the 6th in a series of events organized by the dutch (and german) hacker movement. And this time it almost didn’t happen. The organizer of all the previous events, Rop Gonggrijp,  told us a year ago that he couldn’t do it. After a few months of silent shock, Aldert Hazenberg stood up and took charge. Quite a few people were a little skeptical, but this turned out to be unfounded. He and his team of over 100 volunteers pulled off one of the best events that I’ve been to. A new generation of enthusiasts has entered the scene with a loud bang.

Read on for more images and video..

Ultimate Indonesia Gallery (Diving, Photography)

In may of 2009 we went to Indonesia with Eric Cheng for a total of 45 days. We did over 130 dives, and went from Lembeh to Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon and finally Flores. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever done, with a really nice group of people. It took a few months, but I finally managed to upload a gallery of the images. You can also read our tripreport.

Hacking at Random (Computers)

Logo_har09Every four years a large outdoor hacker conference is held in The Netherlands. This year the 6th edition is being organized near the tiny town of Vierhouten. Like previous years there will be an amazing conference track consisting of a wide range of talks covering topics like engineering, hacking, ethics, politics and much more. But it’s also a great place to meet like-minded people. People that are not only technologically adept and privacy minded, but also critical of where technology is headed.

This is the first year that I’m not really involved in the organization of this event. In previous years I was deeply involved with the technical setup of the event, and the last 2 events I was part of the board of the foundation that oversees the budget. This year I plan to just be a visitor (ok, not quite, another 2 foundations I’m a board member of are the principal sponsors of the event) and I hope to see as many talks as possible.