Pro Liberty Anti-SOPA/PIPA (Amer. Imperialism in Digital Age)

Today has been revolutionary in that major internet sites are now taking action while they still can exist freely-available (uncensored?) on the internet.   Namely Wikipedia, has lead the effort to black out their US (English) sites for an entire day redirecting all attention instead to the US bills themselves which aim to expand policing of internet traffic and intend to justify an onslaught of oncoming shut-downs, take-downs: advancing censorship on the internet.

Strictly speaking these bills are authoritarian in how they explain themselves as with the sweeping framework privileges it intends to grant for “policing” the internet.   Namely they promise economic growth and increased sales/revenues by going after any internet data traffic or availability for any content copyrighted or questionable.   The bills fail to address the economic gap between American poverty and their ability to pay for all content through paid channels.   Worse still they aim to restrict users from accessing or making available their own data!

These bills intend to limit channels of consumption, for pre-sampling materials a consumer would have regular channels, what is free and in the public domain, and whatever remains to be available in the corporate marketplace.  These bills aim to restrict potentially anybody of 7-billion people on Planet Earth to have access to backups of your own data!  The way these bills fail to address any real solvable economic problem or empower more media consumers, the situation shows an already protested American government seeking even more oversight and control.

These bills fail to address the concern for the advancement of information freedom and liberty in the new millennium in the United States.  These bills will cause more oversight, and will grant unnecessary powers to a government that already abuses their powers in respect to constitutional and original principles of freedom.  Ultimately it will be the American people, and not “the-deciders” that will lose out if these bills pass. Not just American’s though, these bills leave it open to police the whole world.

Ultimately these bills are based on ideology that they are good for business and protecting IP, it is very clear to the CS-technical community that this kind of bill will create winners and losers where they didn’t already exist.  As far as jobs go, I seriously doubt these bills will create enough jobs to offset the damage and inconvenience they will cause, and I personally believe this kind of approach would create the wrong kind of jobs if any.  If they weren’t satisfied with the adoption rate of DRM, they are certainly spending big money now on politicians to push a bill that could go after Anybody in the World!

Where they stand

elected as they stand

From the tracking and breakdown of politicians on the SOPA Opera website, there is a clearly a strong momentum for this bill to make passage.  We, American people, have been redistricted and redistricted; Voter rights continue to be attacked, weakened, we’ve seen the economy bottom out from time to time, and this isn’t the first time or that we’ve seen our options limited.

Obama Can Veto

Petition Obama to VETO

It is too bad really we cannot trust American congress people to protect the freedom of American people.  Or to decommission what is already a failure.  We were the first in the world to pursue a doctrine of Freedom and now we are indoctrinating ourselves and inoculating against it.  We (us Americans) are on the verge of waking up Chinese, a joke that is all too unfunny to the Internet censorship community.

[1] http://americancensorship.org/ — Please sign this petition at the least.

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w6GtwOvnWM – Check out this music video about US bill SOPA.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act –  Wikipedia lead the effort to black out popular internet sites for an entire day to direct attention instead to bills on this important issue.

[4] http://wordpress.com/ — The free software that powers this blog was actually blacked out at the time I first wrote this article, making the maintenance article I needed unavailable to fix a failed auto-update.  However the blog software fixed itself over night which is testament to its great capabilities.

[5] http://thepiratebay.org/ — Torrent tracking website, The Pirate Bay, has been in the past a target of legal action and policing/seizures.  Currently still TPB is still available at the time of this writing.

Any views or opinions presented in this article are based on factual evidence which cannot be disputed to me, or my person.  Geekshack nor are any of its affiliates supportive of efforts to pirate, distribute or otherwise try to circumvent copyright laws.  We wish instead for prosperity and continued data availability, especially for content that we have paid money to acquire at one time or another.  We are not supportive of more government control over individual lives, when the government proves time and time again is completely lacking in other management skills and instead resorts to control, force and propaganda.  Again this is an opinions piece, and a condition of reading it is that you cannot sue me.  It is an implicit license agreement binding by you having read the text.

R.I.P Pupa Nov/Dec 2011 — Beloved English setter; sometimes I think dogs are smarter than people.

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Summer Garden 2010

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Optimizing SQL Queries in Django with very little code

Back at the tail end of 2007, I began developing an open source Course CMS for Courses on the web. For technologies, I choose the Python language with the Django MVC framework as an initial code base deployed to an Apache server–the reason being that Django released under the BSD do as you please license had reached .96 Beta maturity and was showing strong potential as a MVC web framework that could one day outperform both Rails and Symphony and other popular frameworks. Also it looked like it would be fairly fun to work with.

Well 2008 came and passed, and I was left with a patched up version of Django .98 and a small streamlined product that could be connected into the University network and serve the same functionality as an existing product–well maybe. There were still core issues with the Django framework and I was convinced my time would better be spent elsewhere while I waited for things to catch up. I put the source on Google Code and left it for a rainy day. Well 2009 came, went and now today we are staring at the face of the Django 1.3 release where 1.2 brought an exciting new CSFR protection that was easy to convert existing projects and also felt worth doing.

Finally the product had come from concept to prototype to something worth testing upon. I began a search of the latest popular Django apps out there and discovered django-registration which would allow opening up registration to the public whereas before it was always imagined we’d stick to an LDAP creator function. While good, the django-registration app is still incomplete, but definitely deserving attention for anyone starting a Django project looking for a registration with activation example. Then I discovered the hottest Django thing yet: the Django Debug Tool Bar which, as an installable app, is easy to plug into a deployment of your project and will demo the full power of a modern Java Script marvel.

The Django Debug ToolBar lets you view the processing time for each request, as well as how much of that time is taken up in SQL queries, what those queries are, and how much time was spent in each query. Using this tool I was able to find bugs in my code that showed linear dependencies of queries existing in the template layer (because yes, Django templates can create queries when the Context dictionary doesn’t have all the data.) After seeing this tool’s Panel views, I was able to identify this issue type and then fix it using Django’s built in select_related on some of the QuerySet statements where the SQL gets generated. This tool combined with firebug, View Cookie, and Opera’s quick page markup validation has allowed me to highly optimize my GoogleCode project django-classcomm. In some cases page views reduced load time from ~250ms to ~125ms!

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April is the cruelest month

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Python’s cProfile–Profiling your code straight-a-way!

This past day or so I have been working on some Facebook puzzles, and in doing so I’ve used Python’s built in code profiler cProfile. It is incredibly easy to set up for cases such as these: simply import cprofile, and then call your entry point with: cProfile.run(‘Main()’) replacing Main with the name of your entry point. You get CPU timing results, for instance showing that calling a C function to compete the Levenshtein Distance will reduce the time for computation to completion by more than half! Good profiling data and a powerful user friendly debugger are two of the most important software QA tools available.

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Classcomm

So I’ve been updating the project I started for my honors project in college, which is a GPLv3 Django Project for delivering Courses on the web. It is now hosted on Google Code. I have also begun wiki documents outlining specific aspects of installing, maintaining and using the project. I hope it might be useful to someone.

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My Northern Illinois Garden 2009

In 2009, my gardening approach was to open up grassy land for cultivation (since gardening had gone out of style here at this ranch home by the turn of the millennium), and to run several traditional row plots separated by plant species. This approach has worked well to demonstrate several vegetable varieties that can easily be grown here in Northern IL. I’ve spent some time researching companion plantings and working the land over to be more like long mound like rows.

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Gray Hat Python

I ran into issues running the demos from my new Gray Hat Python book–likely because I was working directly in 64 bit Vista, and the authors code examples makes use of the kernel32 windows API. I found this blog post outlining this issue in more detail. There exists a follow up post with a number of fixes to various issues in the printed book here: Gray Hat Python: The Followup. Also the publisher’s updates to the book are here. The bottom line though is that this book has low press quality, and the examples do not always hold up to what the real world demands. Still, there are insightful moments and interesting points on security and program debugging. Possibly more useful to someone improving the language than a web developer, still the book has merits if this is your project space. Find a used copy today! (Or look for the E-Book on O’Reilly Media Website) I know I’ll be reading the chapter on Fuzzing Windows Drivers again …

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