Category: Geen categorie


I have mentioned this issue before, but sadly, it was on Facebook comments. Try to find a status post with comments you’ve made a long time ago. Facebook currently doesn’t implement a reasonable way to search your own ancient statusses and comments.

So, I had to re-create the procedure. It’s not staight forwards, and it seems more people are suffering from this issue. So I’ve decided to put it here on my blog.

So, I want to record a video with my webcam. For this purpose I use Cheese Webcam Studio. Now the problem is, the first part of the video contains some audio problems, causing the file to go out of sync. A way to fix it is to skip the first 30 seconds of a recording.

Using ffmpeg you can do this by

ffmpeg -acodec copy -vcodec copy -ss 30 -i input.ogv output.ogv

We just copy the video and audio stream to a new file, and skip the first 30 seconds. Playing it locally using mplayer now correctly displays the video.

Now, uploading it to youtube will fail. It seems, YouTube doesn’t correctly handle the Theora codec in an Ogg-container. The solution to this is copying the video to a Matroska container instead. So we get

ffmpeg -acodec copy -vcodec copy -ss 30 -i input.ogv output.mkv

Now, playing it locally with mplayer shows the aspect ratio is messed up. So, trying to ass the aspect ratio

ffmpeg -acodec copy -vcodec copy -ss 30 -aspect 4:3 -i input.ogv output.mkv

But this had NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER. It seems, ffmpeg is sensitive to the order of the parameters, and only accepts the -aspect parameter as last parameter, just before the output filename. So

ffmpeg -acodec copy -vcodec copy -ss 30 -i input.ogv -aspect 4:3 output.mkv

will do the trick and produce a video file that’s correctly synchronised, and ‘compatible’ with YouTube.

My laptop started acting weird. All net tabs in Chromium immediately crashed. So, I tried to start midori instead, but nothing happened. Trying to start it from a terminal, which happened to be open, gave some weird errors. It couldn’t even load the executable.

It seems, the hard disk went offline. (Windows would just have BSOD’d, Linux keeps running even without harddisk)

Looking at dmesg. I couldn’t |tail is, this would give a “bus error”, due the hard disk problem. So I had to get the entire log…. but I couldn’t save it to a file without running hard disk. Scrolling in the terminal window also stopped working, so I could only get the last few lines in the log, which were these lines


sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Unhandled error code
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] CDB: Read(10): 28 00 17 9f 9c 36 00 00 08 00
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 396336182
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Unhandled error code
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] CDB: Read(10): 28 00 1b 17 24 e1 00 00 08 00
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 454501601
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Unhandled error code
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] CDB: Read(10): 28 00 1b 17 24 e1 00 00 08 00
end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 454501601

Now… what does this mean? Something wrong with the hard disk? the controller? or is this a bug in the kernel?

Besides, my battery is really starting to get bad. I don’t get it. One day it says ninety-something % capacity, and then a few days later is was fourty-something. and now it’s down to 36%. Why *suddenly*? Does it enter self-destruct mode after warranty expires?

You might ask the question What is love?

That were the last words from my previous post.I’ve been talking above love for two posts, but what am I talking about?

This post will be from a personal point of view, okay? Let me take you back into the past. Imagine me, a little over five years ago.Depressed me. Asking, What is love?, my answer would be. Someone who can make me feel better, no matter how bad I feel.
Little over 5 years ago that was Julia.
Little over a yeas ago that was Joshua.

They were there for me when I needed someone, but is that enough to be called love?.
Nah… there are more people who supported me when I was feeling down, but only someone I love could make me feel better.

What am I doing? I was supposed to write about love, and now I am talking about depression? Uhm… yes, I am. But my point is, love can be so strong that it can make me forget how bad I felt. Just talking is enough…

So… where was I? Oh, right, I was talking about love. I want to make the person I love happy… that’s an answer.

Make them happy, make me happy. Yes, that’s what love is about, about happiness.

I want the person I love to be happy, right? Love is about making him happy. So, wouldn’t
it be logical to say, he should be loved by more people then just me? More people trying
to make him happy. I want him to be happy.

Seems very simple, right?

Also I would like to link to Joshua’s blog about love.

Still… I don’t feel like I have answered the question. I have given some things about love,
about when you love someone, but what is this love? What do I love about a person?

Well, one could argue if looks be an answer. Perhaps it would play a role deciding if you
would start talking to a person. But just good looks aren’t enough.

What makes the difference, your attitude to me, do you respect me, accept me the way I am?
But also, your thoughts and ideas. How close are they to mine? Your personality. I love and have loved different people, different personalities. Very different, indeed,
but their attitude towards me is important, accepting me for who I am.

To love and to be loved. Someone who cares about me, who cheers me up when I am sad. When someone I love is sad I want to make him happy again. Perhaps I want to be close to them even more when I know they are sad.

Comforting someone I love, crying on my shoulder… to me… I don’t want you to be sad, but if I am the one you come to for comfort, if you trust me to show me your weak spot, that would mean a lot to me. Perhaps, someone I love crying on my shoulder is more intimate then having sex? I don’t want you to be sad, of course. But when you are I want to be the one to comfort you.

Why am I starting to talk about sadness again? To make the person I love happy is the most important when they are not. That’s why… because I want to make a difference in their lives.

About trust, freedom and love…
what do those words mean to me?
What does it mean?

I have been writing about freedom a few times. And freedom is a concept that’s very important to me. Freedom of speech, Freedom of everything.

But, like I have tried to explain before, freedom doesn’t exist by itself. freedom is not universal. and you don’t just have freedom, but it is given to you by others.

Now, from my point of view, how should freedom and love relate? Especially the person I love should be free. I do not wish to restrict his freedom in any way. No promises, no obligations, nothing but freedom. This might sound scary, and that’s why trust is important.

I don’t want the person I love to stay in my life because I want him to. I don’t want him to stay because I need him. The only reason he should stay is because he wants to stay, because he needs me. It should all be, because he wants so. The ‘security’ of promises should be replaced by trust. That way, his presence in my life, him saying he loves me, gets true meaning. It gives love true meaning. He is free to disappear without a trace, but I trust him he will stay. Because he loves me like I love him. I have to trust that will never change.

But perhaps I am not going far enough yet. More freedom, because I trust him. I have asked a question before, in earlier posts in this blog, why is a person only supposed to love one person? I suggested it’s more of a cultural thing then anything else. Therefore, I say I should give him the freedom to ‘see other people’. He can love someone else too. I trust him. I trust I won’t lose him if he does. Well, under the condition the other person shares this vision of course. The worst thing that could happen is being forced to choose between two people you love(*). I don’t want to put the person I love in that position, therefore he should be free.

Perhaps, an interesting side-effect might be, what if… the person I love and me both develop feelings for the same person?

(*) I have been in such a position. This was in a time I didn’t have this view yet. I developed feelings for two people… and feeling like I had to choose was tearing me apart. I wanted them both. Therefore I say, it is possible to have strong feelings for two people at the same time. So that’s why I am mentioning this.

Love… giving everything you have and expecting nothing in return.

I don’t completely live under a rock. The news Bin Laden has been killed has also reached my world. Also, referring to my previous posts about life… people celebrating his death? Can killing a human being be a good thing? Apparently so…

Who is good? Who is evil? It will depend on the point of view of the person speaking. And history book are written by, guess who, those who won the war? What if…. what if Hitler won the war? What would be written in history books if that was the case? What would it say about the United Kingdom, or the United Stated, or Russia? It’s all relative….

But this time I didn’t want to discuss Bin Laden or Hitler, but rather their consequences on society. Well… Hitler…. the European Union is a direct result of the war… so much said. But these were event from before I was born… and it’s not what I am concerned about right now.

So… let’s discuss Bin Laden… or rather… 9/11 (weird american notation… always confuses us europeans…. “huh, what about 9 november?”)
I mean… what happened after? New security laws, measurement, by the governments, to ensure the people’s safety. And the people accepted. It was for their protection after all. Measurements, they would never have accepted, if nothing happened. But, scaring them apparently is enough to make then give up their freedom, their rights. What good is your freedom when you’re dead? right?

But how far do these measurements go? The USA can check the bank accounts of all EU civilians. WTF??? Why must the USA know how much money I have? And how I spend it? And when I want to travel to the USA? These ESTA forms? All these questions I have to answer before I am allowed to enter the country? And, as some of my relatives who have been there told me, also an interrogation when you arrive. Like a criminal…. yes, dear USA, are we all criminals?

Well.. Bin Laden has been killed? Can we stop all this bullshit now? Please? Of course that is not going to happen. I just think Bin Laden was killed because the word terrorism didn’t scare people anymore. They got used to it…

So… the governments need another tool, another reason for people to accept new laws and measurements that restrict peoples privacy and rights. Censorship in the USA? Yes, sites that are taken down, because they, for example, infringe copyright. Aaaah…. copyright…. being used for the purpose it was once invented: censorship!

Still, this approach gets a lot of resistance…. so what else to do? Well… a closer look at some news for the past time might reveal the answer. Along with something from the historic archives. Imagine what the world was like…. in 1990? (thinks… 1990? perhaps that was the year I’ve been to the USA, not sure) Well… look at this What do you think? Do you think something like that would be acceptable anno 2011?

Oh… in 2011… people will start screaming CHILD PORN!!!! well… not that extreme, I suppose, but still… I think the people’s opinion of what’s acceptable has been changed. Why? And were the people influenced on purpose to change their opinions?

I am not the first one to say this: Child porn is ‘the new terrorism’. The new thing to make people give up their rights. New laws to block child porn from the internet have been proposed in the recent past. People like me will scream CENSORSHIP! But the masses don’t seem to notice the dangers of such laws…. like in France… where sites can be blocked, without a Judges approval. I am glad our government voted against such law. Also, I am glad with my ISP, XS4ALL, who will always object and make their points when a law that might restricting people’s freedom and rights is proposed.

Also, the proposal to outlaw encryption , and to make the general public buy it, they say they’ve arrested some guy with a huge collection of encrypted child pornography. And so they say, to prevent child pornography, encryption should be illegal. Really? Let’s make cars illegal, since they can be used to kill people.

People on facebook are spreading rumours about the end of the world. It also seems, these rumours are mostly originating from the Unites States. I honestly don’t think the world will end soon. I think this rock is going to be around for another couple of million years. But even if it ended today, it doesn’t matter. There is nothing I can do about it, so worrying about it would be a waste of time, of which, if the world is about to end, I do not have much left. Live every day like it was the last. If I am to die tonight, I want to die happy and without regrets. The past is gone, and will never come back. The future is uncertain, no one knows what lies ahead. Here and now, this is what you have. Enjoy every minute, every second.

These are the words I posted earlier on facebook. I said, I would post some stuff on my blog about this. Well…. I better do it now before it’s too late. Three and a half hours left, right? lol

When I was younger, I was afraid to die. Dying was my worst fear. I was afraid to go to sleep and never wake up again. My worst fear, to die…

This was the way I felt when December 2005 hit me. December 2005… the most depressing time in my life. Suddenly there, just like that. Actually, I am not even sure why I suddenly was depressed. I have mentioned a reason, yes, but I don’t know if that was really the reason. Maybe it was just part of the change, from the old me (pre-summer-2005) and the new me.

But I am getting way off-topic now. I was talking about, me, being afraid to die, right? Ok. Those of you, who were around in those days will remember what happened next. I found a soul, lost like me. That’s how I survived this though period of my life. I had someone to protect, I was needed. Someone needed me, someone who I would protect…. and if I would die, I couldn’t do that anymore.

Those of you who were with me during that time (or bothered to read my ancient blog posts) of course know, this love wouldn’t last forever… I can start writing some things about love here, but I was planning another post for that. The topic of today is the end of the world, or rather, how, in the past, I’ve been afraid to die.

Yet… what does this mean… to me… me back in 2006… At first it’s like… I had saved her… and she me… what would have happened if… history would have taken a different course. Listen, if you’re reading this, I have no hard feelings, I’m glad we’re still friends today, what I am about to say is what I felt back then, not now, ok? I also felt like… she let me down when she didn’t need me anymore… I felt used… And it was then, remeber, 2006, still thinking I was bi, then my next relation should be a guy… and in the months after that, I started to realise that thinking about girls would actually turn me off. I still wonder, am I gay because I made that decision? Ok, I’m going off-topic again…

The point is…. I did make a difference… back then… December 2005… a long time ago…

And later…. beginning 2008 was kinda a disaster… being played with my heart… not an experience I wish to recommend. I had lost my trust…

My life today… well… I love Joshua. I don’t think that’s a secret anymore. I think it was February or March 2010, when we started talking… That one poem, that really touched my heart. Describing exactly how I felt, still a result of 2008, yes… But Josh… I will protect him with my life. Yeah… we’ve helped each other though some hard times. Interesting to see, perhaps, to see, how love started with depression, in both cases?

But my point is… I know now, I have influenced people, helped them, cared for them, saved them… I have made a difference. I know, if I would drop dead right now, I will not be forgotten. I know, even if I would drop dead right now, I would still live on in your memories. I would not die after all. My ideas still live on. So… I don’t have to be afraid to die anymore… but I still have the desire to protect those I love. To share my ideas, my thoughts. To try to make this world a better place. I can’t save the world, but I want those who I call my friends to be happy.

So, less then two and a half our left in this day. I’ve been writing on this for over an hour? Enough of this end-of-the-world-crap. When I wake up tomorrow, I expect the word to be on the other side of my front door. The world is a pretty reliable thing. It’s always on the other side of my front door, and never failed to be there before, so I don’t expect that to change tomorrow.

In the concluding paragraph in part 2, I said
“technology doesn’t have a mind of it’s own”

But what exactly does it mean? What does
it mean? Perhaps this should also go into the range
of posts concerning ‘freedom’ as well?

Are you free to do what your want?
Is a dog free to do what it wants? or, yes, here
the little bastard is again, is the mosquito free to
do what it wants? Does the little bastard even
want to bite you? Or doesn’t it have a choice
to bite you?

As far as I can tell, the mosquito is purely driven
by instinct. It doesn’t have a mind, it doesn’t want
anything. It just acts on instinct.

And, concerning technology, if it were alive, as I
argued in previous post, it would be on the level
of the mosquito, something that purely acts on instinct.

Or perhaps even a lower level? What about a bacteria?
Does a bacteria have an instinct? Or does it just consume
nutrients and multiply? Does a bacteria just repeat “eat and
multiply” until there is nothing left to eat, and just die.

Maybe it’s more interesting to look at what’s above the
level of a mosquito then what’s below.

Now? Wait a moment? What is this level what I am talking about?
And is this level the thing, that, in part 1, makes the difference
if it’s ok to kill. However, we still have the mouse here.

Speaking about the mouse, it does have a higher level then
the mosquito. It can do things beyond basic instinct. You
can teach your pet mouse to do tricks…. but you can’t
teach a mosquito to do the same, can you? Yet I wouldn’t
say a mouse is intelligent yet. Neither a dog or a cat, or
any other pet for that matter. Even though they can
act beyond basic instinct, it takes more then that to be
intelligent.

So… what does make you different from that mouse?
Since you can teach the mouse to do tricks, the ability
to learn is not what makes you different. Then, what is
it, that what makes the difference. I think it’s the ability
to understand. Not just learning the ‘what’, but the ‘why’.

My brain is thinking, and even though I have not
reached a conclusion at the end of “part 1”, I have
decided to start a “part 2” as it, even though it is
going to the same category “life”, it will be from
a different perspective.

What is a life? is one of the questions I’ve asked
in previous post, and I would like to look into that
subject in this post.

When we look at wikipedia, it presents us this list

  • Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
  • Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
  • Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
  • Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
  • Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism’s heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.
  • Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and by chemotaxis.
  • Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

I am aware there are alternative definitions. But
looking at these definitions, one could argue that
a single (human) cell is not alive, when it’s
separated from the body. And how would we think
about organ donation? Is a donor organ alive? As
it’s not part of a life-form, and, on itself,
“cannot survive” (if it were alive), or, maybe better said,
doesn’t have the properties on the list presented above.

Now, I am going to invite the mosquito, discussed in previous
post again. I want to look at one property of the reproduction
cycle of this little bastard. The insect bites and sucks blood. It
required the blood for it’s reproduction.

Why am I telling you this. My point here is, the reproduction cycle
depends blood. Blood which is available in other lifeforms. So,
even though this isn’t a problem with the defined above, I would
like to point out this fact, as it might play a role later.

I guess you’ve heard about a story, seen a movie, read a book, in
which computers take over the world. Some say, once computers
get too intelligent, when we’re created an artificial intelligence, smart
enough to think for themselves, they might take over the world.

I think they did, a long time ago. Technology is alive. No, the
computer on your desk, but technology as a whole.

Well… let’s look at reproduction…. no, your computer isn’t
going to get a bunch of little computers, no, that is not going
to happen. But, I said, look at technology as a whole. All the
chips in your computer… or any other electronic device.
Where do they come from? Well??? Technology! right?
And even though those machines that build the chips for
you computer are operated by humans…. a mosquito also
needs other lifeforms to reproduce, right?

Did I just say, the machine is operated by humans, well, I
think that answers the question response to stimuli with
a yes.

Let’s look at Adaptation and growth. Well… is
technology doing this? I say it does. Even though,
technology is invented by humans, and it only does so
because humans make it do so. Technological “progress”
has been a constant, and it seems to “grow” at increasing
rate, adapt to new desires from it’s creators, the humans.

Metabolism might be a trickier one. Technology doesn’t eat,
does it? Well… the definition is created to define organic life.
If I want to include technology as a whole into the definition
of life, I might have to play a little with the definition. But a
power plant does a conversion of energy (coals, etc.  into electricity)
which is used to power many kinds of technology.

Organisation, again, the definition speaks about organic life here,
and the concept cell might be seen as a parallel to your computer,
cellphone, dvd-player, etc. I asked before, is a single cell alive?
Or is it only considered alive in context of the lifeform? If the
second is the case, I would say, every piece of technology is
like a cell in the organism of technology.

Homeostasis …. regulation of the internal environment. 
But what is the internal environment of technology?
Maybe we need to be a little more specific to explain
this? Maybe we shouldn’t consider technology as a
single organism, but as a class of organisms to show
this? On a ‘cell-level’ I can say, the power supply of
my (insert random electronic device) regulates the
voltage to a certain level. I can say it’s a switching
power supply, and it will switch faster or slower
depending on the load, in order to maintain the
same voltage level.

And in this whole story, I haven’t even mentioned
the internet. A network of millions of computers,
connected together. Routers determining the
route of a packet to travel, and if that route is
blocked, autonomously decide for an alternative
route. Routing protocols, in which routers inform
each other of who they can speak to. et cetera.

Now, has technology taken over the world???
Then answer me this question. What if all technology
would say “no” and stop working. Of course,
technology, as it is today, doesn’t have a mind
of it’s own, and can’t decide it doesn’t feel like
servicing humans anymore. But what if… what
if all technology would stop working. We depend
on technology, and therefore, it controls us, and so
it has taken over the world, a long time ago…

My mind is racing at full speed these days,
thinking about all kinds of stuff. This is an
attempt to capture one of these thoughts
before my mind runs off again, something
which it tends to do all the time.

What is a life? What does it mean to be
alive? What’s the value of a life?

When you see a fly in your home, will you
kill it? Or a mosquito? I think many people
would, right?

I don’t think I have to argue a fly and a
mosquito are alive, right? But then, my friends,
why is it okay to kill them?

If one would kill a dog or a cat, I think many
of you would protest, right? So, why is it different?
Because… of their size? In that case, I would like to
point out that many of you would consider it normal
to eat beef, pork of chicken, so, that’s not the thing.

Because they are kept as pets, perhaps? But what
makes an animal a pet? Some people keep mice as
a pet while other people kill them in a mouse trap.
So… is it if their presence was intended? In that case,
I want you to think about a stray dog, a dog, on the
streets, with no owner. It wouldn’t be ok to kill it,
would it? But why? What makes the difference?

Or even, what about humans? Oh, sure you are in
deep trouble when you kill a human, but there seems
to be no problem when you kill a mosquito. So, the
act of killing a living being… what distinguishes the
acceptable from the unacceptable?

Extending the range of the act of killing, being hygienic,
which comes down to killing bacteria, is even considered
a desired thing to do. And yet, we’re still talking about
killing, about ending a life, which can be either good or bad.
But why?

I’ve blogged on this subject a while back,
and I have some more thoughts about
the subject I wish to share.

Opposed to what I said last time, where I
came to a contradiction, when I suggested
that freedom is to do whatever you want,
as this would allow you to restrict others
freedom if you want to.

As, that part of freedom, the interaction
with others is what gave rise to the
contradiction, I would suggest the solution
to be in there as well. Now, I suggest
freedom is allowing others to do what
they want.

So, this means, you need others to be
free. Freedom is something given to you.

Now, I was thinking about how you limit
your own freedom. Well you do so by
caring about what people think about you.
By behaving a certain way in order to be
‘accepted’  rather then doing what you
really desire to do.