Years in hex

I’m using hexadecimal numbers at Flickr, as prefix for the year in which I took my photos. And I just thought:

Hi, I’m Wolfgang. I was born in 7a5. Now we have 7e3, so that makes me 3e years old. See, I’m still young – in 2 years from now I’ll be 40…

Sounds fun, hm? 🙂

Planned outage of de.wikipedia.org

As announced, the German Wikipedia is off today:

I had followed and supported the change.org call and petition already:

But like suggested from Wikipedia, I also wrote to some (German) politicians who hopefully will represent us all against this planned censorship.

And if you’re a democrat, you should probably think about this as well. Thanks for your consideration.

P.S.: got a first answer from one of the parliamentarians already. Which shows that democracy actually works, it’s only up to ourselves to become active, and do the first (baby-) steps…

The state of the internet, according to YT/Google

Are you logged into Youtube, like me? Do you get personalized recommendations, and does your browser filter out ads and other unwanted stuff? Wondering what might be hiding behind all of that? Read on…

My browser (ESR versions of Firefox, mostly – the only more or less “free” one of the big browsers) doesn’t have many plugins installed, but one I couldn’t live without is ublock origin. It gets most of the unwanted crap out of my view, and sites which even try to circumvent this won’t be on my daily list of sites to visit.

But one thing it did as I just found out is to also reduce the opening (self-) ads from Youtube – you saw a short flickering, then the usual list of new videos comes up. Wondering what might be behind that blocked content, I decided to dig out another browser which I rarely use, and which isn’t personalized (means me not being logged into anything), and which also doesn’t have any plugins installed. At work this morning that was Epiphany.

So let’s see what was flashing away from my eyes this morning:

Youtube opening screen, unfiltered

Aha. “Youtube Originals”, yeah I remember, had seen some of these announcements before – looks like they’re trying to become more of a real content provider (to monetize that of course). Ok. Not for me, thanks.

Under it, “Trending”, which I also never see normally. The state of mankind is a poor one if these are the topics of interest, frankly. Don’t want to be reminded of that each day, thanks. So let’s scroll down a bit more…

… where it becomes even worse:

The infamous Googe / Youtube “Topics”

“Topics” – yeah, these I see as well, and these are frankly a pain in your lower end. Ok, I get it – Google / Youtube knows nothing about me at this point, because I’m not logged in, so they show me the topics of most clicks or views or whatever their algorithm might be – and oh man, is this really the world we’re living in? What a strange species we must be…

I closed that browser after this, sorry, but cannot stand it. Google / Youtube is mostly wrong about getting my interest, but at least I don’t see crap like that when I’m being logged in. Instead of that, I see the umpteenth recommendation of old Miles Davis stuff, or Ella Fitzgerald just because I listened to *one* of her songs lately – but that is still worlds apart from… THIS (there was no other word coming to my mind, sorry).

It’s not only Youtube and Google – Vimeo or DailyMotion or all of the daily news aggregators aren’t much better, no one really has any kind of “artificial intelligence” which might be even worth that description of its own. Computers are thick (“Computer sind doof”), as a German pop song of the eighties used to state. Mostly of course, it’s *us* who are programming them. And we want self-driving cars, really? Robots in medicine? Thanks but no thanks.

Ok – enough of brutal truths of reality for one morning – now hand me that blue pill again, thanksverymuch…

Other news, for my/our German readers: in case you didn’t notice it yet, the German Wikipedia will be switched off tomorrow for 24 hours. Their form of protest:

Protest…

So read all about it today while you can – tomorrow you’ll have to do with English or other languages.

And as always, thanks for reading.

A song, older than me. And a new one.

I recently discovered “Cry me a river”, a song composed and first published in 1953 by Arthur Hamilton (see the song’s Wikipedia and JazzStandards pages).

And since Mr. Hamilton originally wrote this for Ella (yes, *the* Ella Fitzgerald!), here is her version of it:

In 1955, it was recorded by Julie London – and even if you’re younger, you might know her version from a movie (“V for Vendetta”):

Some friends of mine from Wikiloops, French guitarist OliVBee and also French singer marmotte also recorded a very beautiful version of it and uploaded it to Youtube:

Chord progressions cannot be copyrighted (for a bit of background in formation (in German) on copyright, cover versions, and so on, see an article in Sound & Recording for instance), so a bit later OliVBee uploaded a slightly changed version of it as “Tears Made Of Silver” onto the loops for people to get creative with these chords.

And then came Shi (from England), and she developed a story not about herself being sad like in the original, but about a missing girl called “Emily”. And then Wade (from New Zealand) played a beautiful sax onto it, finally making it irresistible for me (to not jump in).

I’ve shown it before on these pages, but here it’s again for comparison: “Looking for Emily”:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

And the list of musicians on this is:

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and listening.

Statistics at year’s end

For whatever it might be worth, here are my website stats over this year (with today not being over, so this last day of the year is missing):

Usage statistics for wolfgang.lonien.de

I don’t know if my joining of Wikiloops had anything to do with the increase you are seeing, but since I joined in February and returned from my first members’ meeting in September, I guess that yes, some came and looked (and listened) because of the music.

And all in all it’s pretty impressive. Over 400,000 visits a year with an average of over 1,000 a day means that more than each one and a half minute someone from somewhere is looking at my website. I haven’t checked how many bots (like the infamous Google search) are part of this, and yes, it would be easy to do with simply “drilling in” and following the links, but I’m not really that interested in all that stuff.

Anyway, year’s end is the time to say thanks – so I thank all readers for their interest. Have a good new year 2019, and thanks again for visiting, reading, listening, and whatever.

Cheers, and to a happy 2019!

Flickr statistics are still weird…

Have a look at my “recent activities”:

Screenshot from 2018-12-10 08-15-09

And then have a look at my stats:

Screenshot from 2018-12-10 08-23-29

So many different numbers, all for the same image.

How many views were it? 8002? 12999? 8072? Or – my favourite – 74% of 17489 (which would calculate to 12941,86)?

Strange, ain’t it? Our customers would nail us to the next tree if we’d come up with numbers like these…

Anyway, lots of views for a cat photo, that’s without question 🙂

Thanks for reading my short rant…

IBM to aquire Red Hat

A screenshot from my browser at work, looking at the Red Hat site:

And press releases from both IBM and from Red Hat.

I can’t comment this, but here’s one first reaction, in German:

” Schade um Redhat… aber es gibt ja reichlich weitere Distributionen

IBM hat in den zurĂĽckliegenden Jahren so ziemlich alles an echten Kompetenzen rausgeschmissen – egal ob im Hard- oder im Software-Bereich. Server und Laptops bauen jetzt andere, und die storage-Systeme von IBM taugten ohnehin nichts. “Power 9” ist in der Theorie ganz nett, aber praktisch aufgrund zu hoher Preise noch nicht relevant geworden.

Geblieben sind IBM die Watson-pseudo-KI-Schaumschläger und so Lächerlichkeiten wie “Bluemix”, fĂĽr dessen Nutzung mir jetzt so gar kein Grund einfällt.

IBM wird die derzeit von RedHat bezahlten guten Entwickler durch billigst-offshore-maintainer ersetzen, wie jeder große Konzern das macht, und dafür Cloud-Sales-Laberhänse einstellen die solange wie möglich abverkaufen was gerade noch geht.

Zum GlĂĽck gibt es reichlich Alternativen… ich brauche jedenfalls kein RedHat auf dem Server.”
(from here)

Further questions about the future of the (Gnome) desktop, CentOS (third party clone of RHEL), and Fedora (the open developers’ version of RHEL) are open and unanswered.

At lonien.de, we’re using Debian and some of its derivates (like Ubuntu and UbuntuStudio). And in case you’re wondering: no, Debian cannot be bought. Like most good things in life, it comes free – but like others it can be sponsored. Should you want to do that, go here.

Thanks for reading.