The Gap

I just found this video, which contains an audio clip with Ira Glass talking about creativity, and it’s probably the single most important piece of advice any person doing creative work can ever receive. Check it out!

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The Unified RFID Theory

Yesterday, while sitting on the bus late for school, I had an epiphany.  It came to me as I was watching people use the RFID bus card system that’s in place on all public transport in the greater Helsinki area.

I personally, have at least two RFID tags on me at any point of my daily life. And with the increasing usage of RFID chips in just about anything, that number is probably going to grow quite fast. So, wouldn’t it be practical if all RFID readers communicated with the RFID tags in a standardized way. And wouldn’t it be even more practical if all more “non-sensitive” applications of RFID tags could be brought together in a unified tag. So instead of having one tag for every building/application/whatever, you could instead have a personal tag that you instead just register with the readers for a particular application. This would of course require that all tags use two way encryption, so that the application doesn’t register the ID of the tag.

This is of course limited to identification needs, it wouldn’t work for example with the bus cards, since the cards themselves contain the information about time and money that are charged to the card. But this personal tag would at least limit situations where on person has to carry a whole key ring full of RFID tags. And since one of the really great selling points of RFID chips is that you actually can use one tag for an unlimited amount of applications, it would be quite stupid to limit one chip to one particular application.

Frustration

Today I’ve done the “school-run” since 10 AM, and it’s always frustrating. Basically, my co-worker is responsible for all the work that needs to be done to the different schools’ computers, and therefore this is mostly his problem. Unfortunately he’s on sick-leave for the following three weeks, so I have to take on his work. This includes all of the schools’ computer systems. The work isn’t very hard in itself, but it’s the pupils that makes it so annoying. In the Junior High, the pupils seem to have taken it as a personal goal to completely destroy ever computer.

For example, my co-worker replaced a CD-drive a couple of weeks ago because it wouldn’t shut. Upon examination we noticed that it was full of European 5 cents.

So, the reason why today was particularly frustrating. Yesterday I installed 7 new Dell desktop computers in the computer class. These we setup with mandatory profiles (basically it’s making Windows XP load a pre-configured profile for the pupil account on start-up so they can’t mess it up), and a small wrapper program for cmd.exe, which checked which user was trying to run it, and if it was the pupil it displayed a message box with “GAME OVER” and displayed a rickrolled.me site.

This was quite a smart move, as the site allows you to track how many persons you’ve “rickrolled”, which allowes us to see how many times the nasty little buggers have tried to run cmd.exe.

So, since 5 pm yesterday (or really 8 am today) until 1 pm today, 11 pupils have tried to run cmd.exe. And since the curriculum doesn’t contain anything about using the CLI or batch-files, I’m assuming that they were up to no good. Yesterday we found a batch-file in the pupils network-drive which was 12 MB big, line after line of “start”. If you figure that every start only takes up 5 bytes, and then add in formating, you’ll see how many lines we’re talking about here.

Anyhow, today I needed to check an error I made when installing the computers yesterday, so I went back. Today there was a class in session when I dropped by, so the teacher told some pupils to move aside so I could fix the computer (somehow I messed up when trying to update the mandatory profile to include a network drive and a short-cut to the drive). A normally behaved pupil would have moved aside and watched interestedly as I proceeded to fix the computer (as I did when I went to the same school 5-6 years ago =).  But this egghead proceeded to hide the task bar (like that would stop me…) and then unplugged the keyboard. WHY? It’s not as if he made sure I wouldn’t be able to fix it, all I had to do was to plug in the keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+Del, log off and log in again. Just plain old annoying…

Anyhow, now I’m going to do some more tweaking of this blog, look up the cost of a low profile firewire card, email that to the computer-class teacher at the Junior High, and then it’s coffee time!

Hello world! (or maybe the blogo-sphere?)

Okay now, as WordPress was kind enough to select a topic geeky enough for me, I will stick with it and make this my first post.

If someone is fast enough to catch on to this blog this early (I assure you, it will be the next big thing), you will probably notice quite a lot of changes as I mess about with the layout and other stuff. I’m migrating (or more like spreading out) from BlogSpot, so it might take some time before I have everything pinned down exactly how I want it.

Now, I’m currently doing a thing called civilian service, which is an alternative to military service, which is mandatory in this somewhat backwards country I live in. Still, it isn’t so bad, for me this is mostly like a 12-month long IT gig with about a month “paid” vacation and the worst pay I’ve ever had in my life. =) But it does give me a quite good view over the inside workings of my local municipality’s IT-dept. And it gives me so much to write about that I have to start a blog about it… =)

Well, that’s about it for now, I have some more work to do, I’m co-building a multi-faced Drupal system for the schools here and there are still some things that need ironing out in our first prototype site. As that’s done I’m probably going to do a second post here, but it might take a while as 9 o’clock AM means coffee-break. 😀