Posts Tagged ‘events’

How nice, Croatia invited to NATO and gets a visit from Bush

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Bucharest NATO conference is over and the relevant results for the country I live in, Croatia, is that it got an invite. How nice. Considering we are also a candidate for accession into the EU, it looks like we’re proceeding quite well with our “western integration”. In fact, we’re getting a visit, right here in Zagreb, where I happen to live, by Bush himself. And what do we get for that? I mean we the actual citizens, the people living and working in this city and this country? We get overt security measures a traffic halt and an old lady in a village being policed because ONCE a while ago she rented a house to a guy who is apparently a muslim or something to that effect (don’t quote me on that, this is effectively heresay, but I would not wonder if it’s true). Interestingly that happens to be the village I lived in prior to Zagreb.

What is that old lady guilty of for having her property and freedom violated this way for this so special of an occassion? What right does the state or anyone have to interfere?

Anyway, in Croatia, a lot of people, at least passively, seem to object to the European Union, or just don’t care. Same is with NATO. In fact, according to this news story thousands of “anti-imperialist” protesters will be waiting for Bush, protesting against our joining of NATO and pointing out that we may merely be becoming pawns in the larger game. Tell me about it!

Sure, let’s not jump into conspiracy theories. You know, uniting the world into a World Union ruled by the elite of the few etc. Hey, I didn’t mention Lizards! GTFO! The mere fact that we are preparing to enter both EU and NATO despite major opposition of citizens of this country just goes to show what a freaking sham democracy really is. Sure.. we get to elect our leaders every few years, but it’s more like a parade held for us at the end of which we get to choose whose parade we liked better. Absolutely worthless.

Our government, the same one which is supposed to be protecting us from ourselves, is leading us into unions which are just as “democratic” as ours. So democratic in fact, that 70% opinion of the citizens against the EU means we still need to enter EU. Hmm.. reminds me of another curious organization, ISO, also known as I Sold Out. Yes, that is democracy my friends. Worthless piece of crap propaganda. You have an opinion? You voted? Oh cool, good boy. Tough though, I think we don’t like your vote so we might as well proceed as planned, why don’t you go back to your ignorant routine? Oh you’re such a good citizen.

Update: Bush visits on Friday, that is today, and the preparations were even worse than I initially thought. People were ordered by the police to shut down their windows, to not dry their clothes on their own wires, to park their cars away from the streets part of the route he will pass on. They moved trash containers, polished up the trees, renewed the road markings. Everything apparently had to be absolutely perfect. I can understand that for someone of his influence high security measures may be justified, but some of these measures don’t seem to have as much to do with security as much with creating some sort of an unrealistically and ridiculously perfect image of Zagreb to Bush.

I talked recently about the harms of government intervention. Well I’ve got a nice example these days right here in my city, of government essentially interrupting normal lives of people, even beyond reasonable necessity just to please Bush, because who is an individual citizen of the City of Zagreb compared to Bush? Might as well say nobody. 10 million Kunas (about 2.1 million USD) is being spent on accomodating Bush – that’s 2.1 million dollars of taxpayers money. How is this visit for the benefit of the community? How is this for the so called “common good”? Why is anyone morally obliged to pay the government for these kinds of ventures?

Does joining NATO justify that? As I explained above, absolutely not. NATO was not the choice of the people. Joining NATO is an arbitrary decision between our government and NATO. We essentially have no part in it. People are calling for a referendum and all our premier can say to that is that referendums aren’t appropriate when the sovereignity of the country is not in question (as is the case with EU), since NATO is not a union or states and this is not an accession. However, this ignores the fact that by joining NATO we deny ourselves the ability to be neutral should the world powers be pushed into some sort of a conflict, not to mention that we would be essentially the ones potentially dealing with Kosovo crisis should it emerge (it’s part of the reason why Croatia and Albania are being allied with NATO now), to restrain Serbia.

When this big picture is considered, who can think of the interests of the people? Who cares about them really? I see them pretty much as just a helpless group that happen to be in that given pot, and the pot is being moved back and forth as the powers that are please or see fit. If this doesn’t show what a sham democracy really is then I don’t know what does. When the show called “elections” is over, it’s just business as usual.

But that’s the world to which ignorant masses concede to. There you have it. Enjoy your crippled freedom. May Zagreb citizens see and grasp the contrast between their puny individual self and the power of two states colluding in mutual festivities over an event they had no say about.

Welcome to your new province Mr. President. I hope we don’t serve you well.

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Sensation White

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

If you believe there is no God that we know off how do you explain magic? For magic happens.

My explanation: it just happens or..

We create it. We create magic.

Technology of humans today, enhancing their abilities and overall power will appear godly to humans who lived hundreds or thousands years ago. And an event of all human emotion channelled through our magical technology into a show of sound and light that leaves even us beyond belief, will bring them on their niece.

Sensation White is an example of such an event. Witness the power of 2007/8 Humans in all its glory:

Sensation WhiteThe most amazing home videos are here
Sensation White 2007 TrailerThe most amazing home videos are here
Yet, all of this is, indeed, happening in a small hall of a pale blue dot. If so much magic can be found on a place so insignificant to the universe at large, imagine how much more can we find out there.We are so powerful to our past and current self, and we can use this power to destroy or to build. We can share our positive emotions as part of a fest that connects us all for a time into an inpenetrable network of shared sensation or we can direct our emotions into deadly hatred for our differences.The choice is yours. I know mine.

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Looking back at OTT07

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Time flies. It’s already been 10 days since Open Translation Tools 2007 conference ended and I’m deep into my stuff again, the Freedomware Gamefest being the main work related thing. So what do I have to say about OTT07?

Well, it’s an event worth remembering, and this is not just saying in a sort of obligatory fashion. I’ve never before been on a conference of this kind, never met and talked to as many people involved with Free Software and Free Culture at once and never partied (even if briefly) with people from so many diverse parts of the world. So by all means it was an unique experience.

Of course, it was also quite educational for me. I was a translation newbie and now I know some basic things involved with it. Furthermore I am actually more interested in paying attention to that particular field of activity and the cause of translating internet content to languages other than english. This will likely affect Libervis Network in the future, at least by collaborating with or using third party services to help people translate Libervis content into other languages (services like, probably, the Worldwide Lexicon).

Also, I was able to tell quite a few people about Libervis Network and GNU/Linux Matters. And I was especially glad to meet Dave Crossland, a Free Software advocate working on free fonts development. He confirmed some of my latest thinking regarding Free Software ethics and also added quite a bit more insight. Quite an interesting guy.

Aside from the Worldwide Lexicon some of the other most impressive projects I’ve learned about are FlOSS Manuals (which we are likely to work with on a collaborative project), Dotsub, Social Source Commons etc. There is actually a nice list of the interesting projects that were presented in “speedgeeking” sessions here in the wiki.

After the conference we had a beverage tasting evening, tasting various (strong) drinks from various countries, which got most of us drunk, but it was fun and worthwhile as it was for the sake of a “cultural exchange”. ;) Of course, this cultural exchange quickly turned into quite a fest, or a party if you will. We ended up (to Taco’s dismay) at some cheap back-in-the-alley club fittingly titled “The Wrong Way” until about 2 AM after which Taco and me ended up walking home. It was all my fault though.. I was the one insisting in going all the way through with the rest because I didn’t want to miss the first ever chance I had to party with these kinds of people (from all over the world, involved with Free Software/Culture, it’s something I consider special). :) Taco was, at the end of the day night quite gracious about it, though.

But this is not the end of the story. A day and night later, after Taco already left for the dutchland, I had a chance to attend a speech by Benjamin Mako Hill and then also a drink and a dinner with him, Marcell and others from the local net culture club. It allowed me to talk to him a bit about, even mention Freedomware Gamefest 2007 and the propagation of “Freedomware” as a new “marketing” term for Free Software and a few other things I don’t remember from the top of my head. Mako is a really down to earth guy considering his accomplishments and fame in the Free Software community, with a very bright future as an influential figure in the Free Software and Free Culture movements, I suspect. :)

Finally, as a visual proof, here are a few photo links where you can find me..

You can find all the other OTT07 photos uploaded to flickr so far here.


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First report from Open Translation Tools ’07 conference

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Open Translation Tools 2007 tools conference is being held these days in Zagreb, Croatia, where I live. So naturally I attended, and it was also a good opportunity for Taco to attend as well because I could host him, to demonstrate Passiflora and gain new interesting contacts.

My main purpose is to scoop up information and ideas on available tools and concepts that could potentially help GNU/Linux Matter’s non-profit’s web projects as well as current and future Libervis Network projects.

While I’m actually quite a beginner in the realm of content translation and tools used for it, the nature of this conference is quite open ended and inclusive so it allows anyone, even with least experience on the issue to pull something useful out of it, at least learn about the various related issues as well as practical solutions to those issues.

Today was quite a day. I have to say that only today I talked with a lot more people than I talked to through the whole iCommons conference. This is just what OTT is. There are no keynotes and presentations. There are only collective discussions in groups and the atmosphere being strived for is such that really encourages participants to “boldly go” to meet who they didn’t meet before and hence find out about something or someone new..

One particular thing was especially fun and interesting, a so called “spectrogram” of people’s opinions where when a particular (usually controversial) statement is made people express their agreement or disagreement with that statement by physically standing on one or the other end of a line being drawn on the floor. Standing in the middle is basically being undecided or neutral. Then they are being asked to explain why is it that they are standing where they are standing.

All in all, in just one day I’ve learned quite a bit, experienced quite a bit and also gotten slightly surprised by the way things are going. Considering that I didn’t really came to this conference with a big plan or agenda of my own, but merely to use an excellent opportunity to participate on a FOSS related conference and just “scoop up information and ideas”, it’s proving to be more productive than I would have expected.

So, well, that’s about it from me for now.. Taco wrote a nice scoop about the first day as well so I refer you to check it out if you’re curious. :)


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