Virtual Currencies

Pretty soon, Virtual Games are going to change or at least have a large effect on the world economy

With companies like InterWallet.com making virtual currencies available to virtual games developers, I can easily see how such games as MMORPGs will have a large scale effect on world economics, tax laws, new types of jobs and forms of income for 3rd world countries, etc.

It is quite clear that if some African guy living in a hut manages to get his hand on a laptop, spends his entire day inside Everquest or Ultima Online, he will eventually master the game, aquire expensive virtual items, and will then be able to make real cash from selling them to other players. This African guy could well become a local millionaire (in terms of local economy – his $40 from selling one magical sword could buy him 5 donkeys, or 10 sheep or maybe 2 cows).

If InterWallet’s vision comes true, this same African guy will be able to receive an ATM card, which he will be able to use, if he were to have an ATM machine in his village, which he probably doesn’t since they don’t even have electricity, but you get the idea!

I believe soon enough countries and goverments will have a lesser degree of control on any specific area where people might form smaller municipalities with their own local laws and taxes. History shows us clearly how empires were always relatively short lived (Roman empire, Otomanian empire, etc.), so is the way to go smaller self-sustained villages each managing its own micro-economy? Much like a hive, such villages would interconnect with each other, mingle, maybe some will merge, some will split, it’s all about people and their choices after all. This modern phenomenon (if it happens) might solve many problems such as intellectual property laws, patent laws, copyright issues (municipality reaches agreement for its citizens with RIAA/MPAA or their equivalents). Same holds for armies / police forces. They will be paid forces, where every municipality will pay a “protection” or “law & order” tax, and select from a list of custom enforcement policies for its own good (a relatively well behaved municipality might select a very relaxed policy, whereas a bad one might ask for a stronger policy).

One thing is for sure – We are living in interesting times!

Sensors & Kernel 2.6.11+

Moving to newer kernels is more important than you may think

Two days ago a strange phenomenon caused several of my boxes at 012 to fail. I am in Cyprus, so I had to rely on the staff on location, and on friends who went to the server farm to check if anything can be done. It was later revealed that one power supply failed completely and had to be replaced. Another machine had a corrupt FS; things were made worse by the fact Linux does not yet “love” SATA drives, it shows the partition is mounted RW (Read/Write) while it really is RO (Read Only), but I confirmed this strange behavior with colleagues from channel #debian on freenode, so once this psychological hurdle had passed, I called staff on location and walked them through a reboot of the box, with properly answering questions asked by fsck.ext3.

Yet another machine could not see the SATA drive, I asked on location staff to inspect cables, and they found nothing wrong. On the other hand my friend Milez found that the plastic enclosure of the SATA Power connector was broken! Sabotage? Maybe… and maybe the on location staff broke it while removing it and re-inserting it… But the bigger question is still: why did this all happen in the first place?

Some more background: I was using kernel 2.6.9 up until 2 weeks ago. I know it’s old, and 2.6.13 stable is out for a few weeks, but I am using Debian, and I like using debianized kernel package sources that I later modify myself. Anyway version 2.6.9 had serious issues with certain sensor chips on my motherboards, and I could not read motherboard temperatures or voltages. It was not until early this morning that I realized this was fixed in 2.6.11 and later versions.

I mainly have two routine modifications: 1) The enabling of various grsecurity & pax features 2) The manual patching of a newer sk98lin kernel module for the Syskonnect Marvell Yukon 1 gigabit onboard ethernet adapter I have on my Intel D915GUX motherboards.

So today I installed lm-sensors again, and hurray, it now properly detects my sensors and shows temperatures and voltages, including ALARM signals when they happen. I also installed sensorsd and librrd (to plot graphs). I am now investigating simple ways to generate such plots that will update every few minutes. If I had such graphs before, I might have been able to point a blaming finger at 012 for poor electricity, or unusually high temperatures in the farm. It would then be much easier for me to ask for compensation for damages incurred. So remember boys & girls: Saving a log of temperatures and voltages is important! It’s not just a fun tool, and while it may not save you the headache (disasters happen anyway), but at least the compensation will help a little.

Stasis

I’ve just realized being in Cyprus is just like being in Stasis

I’ve been living and working in Cyprus for 3 weeks, and then had to travel to Israel for a week to celebrate my birthday with my family (I am 32 now! Yey… 😮 ), spend some quality time with my new girlfriend, and also fix some mess that suddenly appeared out of nowhere with my Israeli business.

I came back to Cyprus this morning, to find that nothing has changed. A peek at a newspaper a cypriot was holding revealed that the greek plane crash is still in the news; it was the news when I left, and it’s still the news now when i’m back. The same thing holds for the house. The old “Ice Tea” cardboard box I left on one of the tables is still there, the bread in the freezer seems untouched, and in general it looks like nothing was moved. This gives me a feeling that I never really left this place.

It seems Cyprus is a slow and relaxed island, when a disaster happens, it is in the news for weeks. When people die in a car crash, it is news. If a dog was killed in the center of town by a motorcycle, it makes the news. This would not happen in Israel. Dead dogs are never news, and car crashes are so numerous they produce daily statistics. Or perhaps Israel is a place where so many events are happening, and happening so fast and so often, that anywhere else seems peaceful, serene, uneventful.

I’ve come to like this generally relaxed atmosphere.

Baby Shrimp sauted in spicy tomato

A simple (yet tasty) recipe for Baby Shrimp in spicy tomatos

    Ingredients:

– Peel & Seed 3 to 4 ripe tomatos (depending on size), and cut to fine pieces (for fast cooking)
– 2 to 3 garlic pcs.
– 1/5 finely cut onion
– 3 table spoons strong olive oil
– Oregano, Thime, Basil (all or whichever you can get your hands on, fresh is better)
– 1 tsp sugar
– Salt & Pepper
– Ground red pepper (Paprika)
– Tabasco sauce (Red)
– 500 grams of baby shrimp

    Instructions:

1. Add 3 spoons olive oil in a saucepan, on medium fire
2. Add the onion + garlic together
3. Wait for the onion to become transparent (not brown!)
4. Add the tomatos
5. Add thime, oregano, and/or basilicum (whichever you like)
6. Add finely ground red pepper (Paprika) & Tabasco Sauce
7. Add some salt & pepper
8. Add 1 tea spoon sugar

The whole thing cooks for around 30 minutes, or less if your stove is of the powerful type. I suggest tasting the sauce, and fixing the spicing as you go.

Once the sauce reaches the correct consistency, throw in the baby shrimp. Wait just enough for them to become pink, and you’r done! CAREFUL, Do not overcook the shrimp!

NOTE: Certain brands of baby shrimp are sold pre-cooked, and while this is mostly undesirable, it is the only choice for some of us out there. Just remember to be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as they lose their softness & crunchiness.

Backpack to the ready!

Skaag is preparing for a life saving, long due trip around the globe

I barely remember the last time I took a vacation long enough to actually be considered a proper vacation. I’m pulling out some savings, packing a bag, and leaving the country for a while on the road to destiny (on whose path lie the following places: France, Netherlands, and the USA).

My close friends who know about my personal ordeals of late, know just how much I need this break. You also know how much of a Duracell(c) battery I am… So enough is enough, I plan to clean my head and start a fresh new life; get rid of the negative charge, keep my positive charge, and hop into the bunny.