The Diary Of John
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy? - Gandhi
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Time to rest..

I'm here resting for a while before Roberta rings me.. from Sao Paulo lol. Her family are there visiting her grand parents and will return next week some time :-). Give me time to look around and see what i can buy her for valentines day hahaha!

Did my first day at the other CCAA today so guys and gals HI THERE if you drop by here :-). I just had my MEC 3 students on the phone wanting me to plan some conversation stuff that they can use themselves, i have piles of it somewhere but i'll have to dig it out as i have been preparing some of my stuff ready for the move near the end of the month. The problem is that most of the material they want to use requires alot of photocopying and stuff and a pc to play the sound files so they either have to do at the school or a house lol.

Man i'm starving so i'll go eat here, i think i have Roberta's alien inside me..(Dont ask lol)

posted at 5:50 PM by john |  

Friday, February 06, 2004

Something interesting i found in Newsweek

I read the article below about the internet and thought i would post it here as i thought that i was interesting reading. A controlled internet with secret private networks blogging and swapping files secretly? Theres more on the Newsweek website okay?

posted at 8:54 AM by john |  

A Net of Control

Unthinkable: How the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works

Newsweek International

Issues 2004 - Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive) ideas in the cradle, and no one can publish even a laundry list without the imprimatur of Big Brother. Some prognosticators are saying that such a construct is nearly inevitable. And this infrastructure is none other than the former paradise of rebels and free-speechers: the Internet.

To those exposed to the Panglossian euphoria of Net enthusiasts during the 1990s, this vision seems unbelievable. After all, wasn’t the Internet supposed to be the defining example of empowering technology? Freedom was allegedly built into the very bones of the Internet, designed to withstand nuclear blasts and dictatorial attempts at control. While this cyberslack has its downside—porn, credit-card fraud and insincere bids on eBay—it was considered a small price to pay for free speech and friction-free business models. The freedom genie was out, and no one could put it back into the bottle.

Certainly John Walker believed all that. The hackerish founder of the software firm Autodesk, now retired to Switzerland to work on personal projects of his choosing, enjoyed “unbounded optimism” that the Net would not only offset the powers of industry and government but actually restore some previously threatened personal liberties. But in —the past couple of years, he noticed a disturbing trend. Developments in technology, law and commerce seemed to be directed toward actually changing the open nature of the Net. And Internet Revisited would create opportunities for business and government to control and monitor cyberspace.

In September Walker posted his fears in a 28,000-word Web document called the Digital Imprimatur. The name refers to his belief that it’s possible that nothing would be allowed to even appear on the Internet without having a proper technical authorization.

How could the freedom genie be shoved back into the bottle? Basically, it’s part of a huge effort to transform the Net from an arena where anyone can anonymously participate to a sign-in affair where tamperproof “digital certificates” identify who you are. The advantages of such a system are clear: it would eliminate identity theft and enable small, secure electronic “microtransactions,” long a dream of Internet commerce pioneers. (Another bonus: arrivederci, unwelcome spam.) A concurrent step would be the adoption of “trusted computing,” a system by which not only people but computer programs would be stamped with identifying marks. Those would link with certificates that determine whether programs are uncorrupted and cleared to run on your computer.

The best-known implementation of this scheme is the work in progress at Microsoft known as Next Generation Secure Computing Base (formerly called Palladium). It will be part of Longhorn, the next big Windows version, out in 2006. Intel and AMD are onboard to create special secure chips that would make all computers sold after that point secure. No more viruses! And the addition of “digital rights management” to movies, music and even documents created by individuals (such protections are already built into the recently released version of Microsoft Office) would use the secure system to make sure that no one can access or, potentially, even post anything without permission.

The giants of Internet commerce are eager to see this happen. “The social, economic and legal priorities are going to force the Internet toward security,” says Stratton Sclavos, CEO of VeriSign, a company built to provide digital certificates (it also owns Network Solutions, the exclusive handler of the “dot-com” part of the Internet domain-name system). “It’s not going to be all right not to know who’s on the other end of the wire.” Governments will be able to tax e-commerce—and dictators can keep track of who’s saying what.

Walker isn’t the first to warn of this ominous power shift. The Internet’s pre-eminent dean of darkness is Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford University guru of cyberlaw. Beginning with his 1999 book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace,” Lessig has been predicting that corporate and regulatory pressures would usurp the open nature of the Net, and now says that he has little reason to retract his pessimism. Lessig understands that restrictive copyright and Homeland Security laws give a legal rationale to “total control,” and also knows that it will be sold to the people as a great way to stop thieves, pirates, malicious hackers, spammers and child pornographers. “To say we need total freedom isn’t going to win,” Lessig says. He is working hard to promote alternatives in which the law can be enforced outside the actual architecture of the system itself but admits that he considers his own efforts somewhat quixotic.

Does this mean that John Walker’s nightmare is a foregone conclusion? Not necessarily. Certain influential companies are beginning to understand that their own businesses depend on an open Internet. (Google, for example, is dependent on the ability to image the Web on its own servers, a task that might be impossible in a controlled Internet.) Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are sounding alarms. A few legislators like Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Norm Coleman of Minnesota are beginning to look upon digital rights management schemes with skepticism. Courts might balk if the restrictions clearly violate the First Amendment. And there are pockets of technologists concocting schemes that may be able to bypass even a rigidly controlled Internet. In one paper published by, of all people, some of Microsoft’s Palladium developers, there’s discussion of a scenario where small private “dark nets” can freely move data in a hostile environment. Picture digital freedom fighters huddling in the electronic equivalent of caves, file-swapping and blogging under the radar of censors and copyright cops.

Nonetheless, staving off the Internet power shift will be a difficult task, made even harder by apathy on the part of users who won’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours talking to people about this,” says Walker. “And I can’t think of a single person who is actually going to do something about it.” Unfortunately, our increasingly Internet-based society will get only the freedom it fights for.

posted at 8:52 AM by john |  

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

More and more things go wrong lol

Why is it that the first week is always the worst and not say.. a week in the middle of the semester? hahaha! If it can go wrong it has this week and its only wednesday lol. Still its all in good fun and i am getting paid so i guess thats a good thing right? :-). Today i have just one group as all of my groups are on other days of the week so it gives me most of the afternoon and evening to type up some stuff for some of my groups to use later in the semester. Grammar and stuff mostly with some phrasal verbs too. I have a couple of books to look through as well for some new photocopies for special days that we only celebrate in the UK and not here in Brasil :-). It'll give the students something different to do other than the usual methodology :-)

Today Roberta is at home so i'm on my own all day long, nice though as i get to spend most of the weekend with her but i have no idea what we are going to do yet, its the end of the month so i'm getting low on money hahaha! I'll find something for us to do though, maybe we can find something to do around my new place, the garden needs sorting out and also a couple of other things. We spent yesterday looking for new furniture and stuff, Brasil is a terrible place to buy things though as they require huge amounts of paperwork for the simplest things. To but a R$200 bit of wood requires a list of things as long as my arm lol. It's easy to understand why there are alot of house robberies here as poor people here wouldnt have time to find all these things to just buy a cooker etc. Still luckily i have all of the papers needed and its a once only thing as then i will have a credit record and Roberta helped me to find it all out too so now i just have to look around for the cheapest place to buy from and then i'll hopefully be able to think about moving in within a few weeks :-)

I have to definately think about finding a few things to amuse me in the new house, a tv is no good as most of the time i wont be there but giving class or with Roberta. A portable cd system is as much as a full stack system here, they have such wierd pricing policies here in Brasil, maybe they havent caught on that charging hundreds of bucks for everything isnt always the best way to get people to enter your store and buy things, again you can see another reason why most people just decide to steal other peoples things cant you? I'll hunt around for a cheap computer i think, i could have Adriana's computer but to be honest i will only take a bed from the house as i am sure people will complain if i take alot of things from there. I cant just buy things new, it'll take longer but its not a problem :-)

I had better get over to the school and start on my typing and stuff, its going to be a long day as i have class until 9.30pm tonite. Oh well, into every life a little rain must fall lol

posted at 11:07 AM by john |  

Monday, February 02, 2004

Screw-up day

Can you believe that the first day of the semester is already screwed up? lol. I have a group this afternoon and none of the students knew they had class until i called them and found out that no one had told any of them about a change in the schedule so they have to have a meeting to decide how they are going to sort this cock-up out lol. Plus my new stuff isnt ready and the attendence cards are not ready as i checked this morning. I got a video from the visdeo store just in case the material isnt ready so at least the students will have something to do. Never mind its all in good fun and just so long as they pay me hahaha!

My weekend i spent with Roberta cleaning out the house i am going to move to, its quite nice but needed a whole day to clean everything as it hasnt been lived in for around 9 months or so. Roberta left some incense burning there to get rid of the small of the house being closed up for so long. Now i can start buying some stuff and i hope to be living there within four weeks or so or sooner if possible as its alot nearer to my workplace. I'll try to get a few photos once its all ready and i have moved in. I have to borrow some tools to get the garden under control, i'll tackle it at the weekend i think if i get time on sunday

I have to try to find out where the other CCAA in Taguatinga is as i have my first classes there on sat and i have no idea how to get there lol. Should be good for a laugh i guess. I have just a couple of classes there just to pay my rent, MEC & OM i think. Easy stuff that i hope are teenager groups that at least like to learn english. I know that the bosses sister in running this school but she is goinbg to have to get used to my slightly different way of teaching as i like to have alot of fun in the classroom. anything i can use to make the class more fun generally i try out, videos, clips, music cds, you name it i will experiment with it lol. Roberta will start class tomorrow, with me hahaha! Its going to be fun teaching her as last semester of course she wasnt dating with me but this semester we have been dating around 8 weeks this friday. I got her a cute fluffy red loveheart to celebrate our 7 week aniversary lol. Was just for fun but Roberta loved it :-)

Okay the clock here says its time for me to get moving and get over to the school and see if they have got anything sorted out about my students screwed-up classes. Hope i have time to get lunch before all this too ;-)


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