Friday, June 22, 2007

My Brother's Blog

Seeing as I'm off on hols tomorrow and probably won't be updating this blog so much, you could always kill some time by checking out my brother's blog.

He's got some really funny posts in there.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fantastic New Blog

Indonesia Prattler covers Jakartan high society. Very informative!

Strawberries and Slavery

It's almost Wimbledon time again - strawberries and cream are in the air - delicious!

Throughout the last week there's been many stories about slavery in China, for example here, here and here (I seriously doubt that such large scale slavery would be possible in Indonesia, unless Kalla gets in and goes the way of China).

As I have noted before, there is a big difference between desperate people working of their own free will in harsh working conditions, and people being violently forced to work.

It's one of my pet hates when I read stories where journalists confuse the two.

Working in poor nations is often very harsh, because life for many in those nations is /extremely/ tough. I wish it was different, but boycotting dirt cheap imports from China is counterproductive (link -- in German).

Meanwhile British strawberries are withering on the vine, because not enough immigrant workers are being allowed in to pick them. I am sure unskilled workers from Indonesia and China could earn at least the equivalent of their usual monthly wage /every/ day if they were allowed to pick strawberries in Britain.

It looks like strawberries will have to be imported en masse to make up for the shortfall - thank God for Mexican immigrants working on American strawberry farms!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Indonesians Don't Pay Tax

What complete and utter bullshit!

What about the millions paid in bribes to government employees?

Indonesians (rich and poor) are forced to pay more bullshit "taxes" than most other places around the globe. These government officials have some chutzpah.

Makes me want to puke!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Heart Jusuf Kalla

Kalla, the vice president of Indonesia, is the tops.

He's innovative - how to boost Indonesia's tourism industry? Last year he suggested that Indonesian women prostitute themselves to Arab tourists. Sex sells, so why not use it to sell Indonesia! Genius!!

That's old news.

Last week he was in China, waxing lyrical about his Chinese host's lack of democracy, and complaining about how every Indonesian has rights now.

"In the past seven years, we have been busy with so many problems, large debts, rallies, arson, problems related to democracy, disasters... And we've never thought of development leaps."

(Don't get me started his predecessor's "leaps" into the aircraft and automobile industries)

What are his specific examples of problems with democracy?

Citing the East Canal Flood project, he said most people would not sell their land at fair prices once they knew that infrastructure projects were planned for the area.

Personally I find that encouraging.

Disputes such as Meruya Selatan, Pasuruan etc. have /grown/ from an era where if you did have to get rid of a handful of villagers to enforce your "rights" over their property, you could with little or no problem - I wonder how many such disputes were widely publicised in Sukarno and Suharto's time?

Obviously we don't hear about all the minutiae of bad governance in Indonesia, but in China we have to wait for whole towns to riot, or reams of villagers killed by local police in order to get a blip of acknowledgment in state run media.

Indonesian politicians have never had it worse, little by little they and their cronies are becoming accountable. Finally there is a chink of light for the people in small communities across the archipelago.

Kalla is complaining about hard work - good! Now let's hope he doesn't try to make his job a lot easier if he wins the next presidential election.

And as anyone with a smidgen of economics knowledge knows, secure property rights are perhaps the most important determinant of economic well being. Something which the Chinese themselves are increasingly having to come to terms with.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Ever see Taxi Driver?

Classic movie.

The "hero" of the film is a psychotic taxi driver. At the climax, by some fluke (if I remember correctly) he is deflected from assassinating a presidential candidate. His raison d'etre now evaporated, he goes on a suicide mission to save a young girl caught up in a brothel.

There's a huge shoot out and he almost dies. But in the end he saves the girl and is proclaimed a hero.

A friend of a friend of a friend just murdered another friend of a friend of a friend. Even though some believe that the murdered wasn't necessarily the better guy; posterity will probably remember him better than the killer.

How shocking and how fickle fate is.

As Philip Zimbardo says, heroism and villainy are banal.

Everyone is capable of both; and yet often so sickeningly self-righteous.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

RT2500 WPA Ubuntu Feisty & Gutsy Howto

I spent most of the weekend configuring my wireless card to use WPA wireless lan encryption.

Why? Because WEP encryption takes less than 2 minutes to crack. It's like leaving all your personal documents lying out on the side of the road for passersby to peak at.

Hopefully this saves someone's weekend :)

[Update: after upgrading to Gutsy I realised I forgot to mention that you should also remove the "network-manager" package - hopefully that'll help most to get things up and running.]

1) The "/etc/network/interfaces" file should look like this:
iface lo inet loopback

auto ra0
iface ra0 inet dhcp

auto lo

[Update2: I have the "rt2500-source" package installed, suspect it may provide this file that some people said they were missing -- I haven't compiled the rt2500 module from source in about a year, so the stock Ubuntu module should work, there should be no need to compile it by hand]

The "/etc/Wireless/RT2500STA/RT2500STA.dat" file should like like this:
3) Reload your network:
/etc/init.d/networking restart
You may have to reboot to reload the RT2500 module - not quite sure about that point...

The full documentation for the "/etc/Wireless/RT2500STA/RT2500STA.dat" file is below. I found the documentation in the README file of the original RT2500 driver source code bundle.
Syntax is 'Param'='Value' and described below.

1. CountryRegion=value
0: for use channel 1-11
1: for use channel 1-11
2: for use channel 1-13
3: for use channel 10-11
4: for use channel 10-13
5: for use channel 14
6: for use channel 1-14
7: for use channel 3-9
2. WirelessMode=value
0: 802.11 B/G mixed
1: 802.11 B only
3. SSID=value
1~32 ascii characters.
4. NetworkType=Infra
Infra : infrastructure mode
Adhoc : adhoc mode
5. Channel=value
1~14 depends on CountryRegion
6. AuthMode=value
OPEN For Open System
SHARED For Shared key system
WPANONE For pre-shared key in adhoc mode
WPAPSK For pre-shared key in infrastructure mode
7. EncrypType=value
NONE :For AuthMode=OPEN
WEP :For AuthMode=OPEN or AuthMode=SHARED
TKIP :For AuthMode=WPAPSK or AuthMode=WPANONE
AES :For AuthMode=WPAPSK or AuthMode=WPANONE
8. DefaultKeyID=value
1 ~ 4
9. Key1=value
10 or 26 hexadecimal characters eg: 012345678
5 or 13 ascii characters eg: passd
10. Key2=value
10 or 26 hexadecimal characters eg: 012345678
5 or 13 ascii characters eg: passd
11. Key3=value
10 or 26 hexadecimal characters eg: 012345678
5 or 13 ascii characters eg: passd
12. Key4=value
10 or 26 hexadecimal characters eg: 012345678
5 or 13 ascii characters eg: passd
13. WPANONE=value - use for adhoc mode
8 ~ 63 characters
64 hexadecimal characters
13. WPAPSK=value - use for infrastructure mode
8 ~ 63 characters
64 hexadecimal characters
14. TxBurst=value
0: Disable
1: Enable
15. TurboRate=value
0: Disable
1: Enable
16. BGProtection=value
0: Auto
1: Always On
2: Always Off
17. ShortSlot=value
0: Disable
1: Enable
18. TxPreamble=value
0: Long
1: Short
2: Auto
19. TxRate=value
0: Auto
1: 1 Mbps
2: 2 Mbps
3: 5.5 Mbps
4: 11 Mbps
5: 6 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
6: 9 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
7: 12 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
8: 18 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
9: 24 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
10: 36 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
11: 48 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
12: 54 Mbps //WirelessMode must be 0
20. RTSThreshold=value
1 ~ 2312
21. FragThreshold=value
256 ~ 2312
22. PSMode=value
MAX_PSP Power Saving Mode

23. AdhocOfdm=value
0: Tx MAX rate will be 11Mbps in Adhoc mode.
1: Tx MAX rate will be 54Mbps in Adhoc mode.

24. StaWithEtherBridge=value
0: Disable sta with ethernet to wireless bridge.
1: Enable sta with ethernet to wireless bridge.