Category Archives: General

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New adventures with the fabulous Raspberry PI

So in the last 6-7 months I have become really interested in electronics. When I was a kid (14-15) I built an FM transistor radio out of a kit that my dad bought me,  but I really didn’t learn any electronics. Maybe some basic soldering, but that was it.

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With the arrival of the Raspberry PI, a small credit card sized computer at only $ 35.00, my interest in electronics and programming were rekindled. So I bought a few of those machines and started playing around with them. Pretty soon, I understood I needed to buy some peripherials, as just tinkering and watching results on a terminal screen wasn’t fun enough.  So I decided to buy to screens from Adafruit. One 2.8″ TFT touchscreen, and one RGB 2×16 character LCD screen with buttons. The products arrived unassembled, which was part of the idea. So out came my soldering iron and I actually had to do a bit of trial and error before I got the hang of it!

IMG_1231The smaller 2×16 LCD screen was actually the hardest one to solder together! It had a total of 96 points to solder!

Once soldering it, I needed to see if it was working. There is a cool software utility for the Raspberry to identify equipment attached to the GPIO ports, called i2c-tools ( “sudo apt-get install i2c-tools“). At first run, i2c-tools didn’t find the screen, so I had to check it over in search of bad solder points (I found 4 in total). After re-soldering them, I ran i2c-tools again and got this: 

raspberry_pi_i2cdetect

The “20″ at line 20, was proof that I succeeded. The screen was being recognized! After that it was just a question of downloading example libraries and go loose on the screen!

The second screen, the TFT touchscreen was way easier to assemble, actually. Only 52 points, not counting the optional 4 buttons (another 8 points to solder). With that one, I can boot the PI into the console on the screen, and even use the GUI with my fingers!

tft screen

My nest project is to try to add some wireless capability to the Raspberry. I already have a wifi dongle connecting this magnificent little computer to my network, but I am thinking more of 433MHz wireless connections, like the ones existing in  countless gadgets (weather stations, alarm systems, electric garage doors, etc).

The Paradox of flying

I recently flew from Los Angeles to Mexico City. I arrived early at LAX to check in and was about the first ones to check in at that specific Alaska Air flight. Getting to Mexico, my bag was the last one on the carousel. Logic? I guess they pack’em as they come so if you are early, your bag gets stuffed further into the aircraft, and if you are late to the airport your stuff gets loaded last, and thus is unloaded first

Not even doped, they are able to play…

Mexico is playing the Copa Oro tournament for CONCACAF right now in the US. They play high powered rivals, like El Salvador, etc. Sorry, that was a joke..

 

 

Today, 5 of the first line players – including goalie Guillermo Ochoa (Memo Ochoa) – were kicked out for failing doping tests. Seems they failed due to having somehow ingested Clenbuterol.

According to Wikipedia: Clenbuterol has also been used as a performance-enhancing drug. In 2010, a number of athletes were banned after using the drug, including Polish canoeist Adam Seroczynski, British hurdler Callum Priestley and Chinese Olympic judo champion Tong Wen. Three cyclists were also accused of taking the drug. Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Spain tested positive for the drug at the 2010 Tour de France. The news came out during the UCI Road Cycling World Championships held in Geelong, Australia.[3] In May, the UCI suspended Italian cyclist Alessandro Colo, and Chinese rider Li Fuyu, a member of Team RadioShack, was suspended after testing positive for the drug during a Belgian race.

American swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive at the U.S. trials in July 2008. She served a one-year suspension, having claimed she unknowingly took the drug in a contaminated food supplement. Former New York Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski admitted to distributing clenbuterol to dozens of current and former Major League Baseball players and associates in his plea deal.[4]

Polish sprint canoer Adam Seroczyński was disqualified for taking this drug after he finished fourth in the K-2 1000 m event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and Chinese cyclist Li Fuyu tested positive for it at the Dwars door Vlaanderen race in Belgium on March 24, 2010.[5]

In the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador tested positive for clenbuterol. He claims it was due to food contamination, citing the 50 picogram (5 × 10−11 g) per millilitre concentration of the drug in his sample. He was handed a one-year suspension from competition by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC). On February 14, 2011, Contador was cleared of doping by the Spanish cycling federation, which canceled its January 26 proposal for a one-year ban.[6] Traces of the amine from meat in the diet is regularly turning up in athletes’ blood.[7]

In September 2010, St. Louis Cardinals minor league shortstop Lainer Bueno received a 50-game suspension for the 2011 season as a result of testing positive for clenbutero

I just spent…

…20+ minutes deleting spam from my different blogs. 7 days a week it means 140 minutes, which translates to more than 2 hours. If I were a lawyer in the US I would charge around 400 US/hr for my work. Meaning somebody is stealing 800 USD/week from me. That amounts to “grand theft”, as most states have it stealing more than 250 USD worth of goods (in this case, time) is grand theft. In Florida, for example, people who are convicted of grand theft will likely have to spend over a year in jail, pay monetary fines, and possibly restitution. ~

Per month it amounts to 3 200 USD. Per year it is 38 400 USD. That means the spammers should go to jail for stealing at least 38 400 USD out of each person that receives an email from them. Multiply that with the number of people that actually are deprived of time to do their stuff… it amounts to millions of dollars every month.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Youssef Boutros Ghali was sentenced to 30 years in prision in absentia (he is being searched for by Interpol). Youssef was Egypt’s finance minister between 2004 and 2011. He was charged with using his position to enrich himself, amongst other things. People recognizing the name might remember that his uncle, Boutros Boutros Ghali was Secretary General of the UN before Kofi Annan. He was not the whitest sheep of the family either. As Vice Prime Minister of Egypt, he sold boatloads of weapons to Rwanda (that were stockpiled before the famous genocide), and was UN Chief during that same genocide. He was subsequently criticized for not doing much during the genocide that left over 1 million people dead. Of course he didn’t, he was making money off the dead!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13654926

Child abuser – what will happen?

A few days ago, in the state of Veracruz, left wing politician Celestino Rivera Hernandez was caught in the act of sodomizing and raping a 12 year old boy that he had picked up on the street. Celestino is a “respected” pillar of his community, but he had done this before. No less than 5 times – that police know of. Every time getting off the hook by threats or offering money to his victims. To one indigenous girl he gave a cell phone and 3000 pesos (around 270 USD) for her silence.

This time around, when caught in the hotel room with a crying 12-year old boy, Rivera offered the arresting officers a whole lot more. With him, in a rucksack, he had 250 thousand pesos (23 thousand dollars) in cash. He even offered his pickup truck to the officers. The officers decided to go ahead and arrest him any way. Then he started flashing his different ID cards. You see, in Mexico when you are a political figure and in some kind of congress (local, state or federal) you have immunity against prosecution. In this case, his immunity had expired back in 2010, but he still tried to sell it to the arresting officers.

He also said he was a national counsel to the PRD (3rd biggest party in Mexico, left wing) and he should go free, because he had powerful friends. Still, the officers did not budge, and not even letting him put on his clothes, they took him to the police station to book him. At the same time they took a statement from the frightened and recently raped 12-year old boy.

It appears Rivera approached the boy while in his car. The boy was cleaning windshields in a street corner, trying to make some money. Rivera lured him into his pickup truck promising him money and then took him to a hotel.

What will happen to this beast? I sincerely hope he will be raped violently for the rest of his days by his inmates. And I hope he will die a painful death.

Obama – a fallen leader?

Barack Obama should know how it is to be a minority looked down upon. Yet he does nothing to counterattack the recently passed law in Arizona, that basically says that people on the street can get stopped just for looking the way they do. He is safe – rich and powerful. But still black.

What about the millions that work in the US and have to carry their papers around? “Papieren bitte”, comes to mind – phrase often heard in Germany during the war. I can swim across the Rio Grande hundreds of times, and I will not be stopped. Why? I have blue eyes and a fair skin complexion. I don’t look Mexican and even though I am, nobody would stop me. And that is what is wrong with this stupid law. Some idiot senator said you can pick out the illegals from others by the way they dress… Say what?

“Detain anybody that looks like an illegal immigrant” is like returning to Nazi Germany, when people where detained because they looked jewish. WTF? And the leader of America, an African American guy does nothing to stop this? WOW… The US is really fucked up.

Public hangings…

Yesterday, 2 bodies were found hanging from a bridge in central Cuernavaca… Presumably, the victims are drugdealers and the killers are a competing gang… things are getting ugly here… Calderon needs to get his shit together right now, or things will turn ever uglier soon.

Omitting slavery is bad?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/07/virginia.confederate.history/index.html?hpt=T1

(CNN) — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell apologized Wednesday for leaving out any reference to slavery in his recent proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month, calling it a “major omission.”

“The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed,” McDonnell said in a written statement.

“The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War,” the statement said. “Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation.”

McDonnell also announced Wednesday that he would add language about slavery to the proclamation.

“(I)t is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this (Civil) war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights,” the new language says, “and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders.”

McDonnell’s statement noted that while Virginia was home to the Capital of the Confederacy, it was also the first nation to elect an African-American governor, L. Douglas Wilder, who McDonnell called “my friend.”

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Wilder said that McDonnell’s apology and his introduction of additional proclamation language was “the right thing for him to have done.”

“Most people recognize that slavery was the cause of the (Civil) war,” Wilder said, noting that McDonnell had called him Wednesday. “The war was not a glorious thing in our past. It was something that we were able to withstand in terms of tearing the country apart. … Thank God that war ended with the Confederacy losing.”

Not all Democrats were willing to forgive McDonnell on Wednesday.

“He has a right to apologize,” Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III, a black Democrat, told CNN. “But I don’t accept that as a good answer because this is a pattern of this governor.”

“He says the wrong thing, he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology,” Marsh said, “It’s a question of whether or not he’s sincere or not.”

Other Democrats accepted McDonnell’s apology.

“My great, great grandparents, their offspring and others were split up in the Commonwealth of Virginia & sold into slavery,” Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Donna Brazile said on Twitter. “Apology accepted

McDonnell is the first Virginia governor in eight years to issue a proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month in the state, a move that drew criticism from Democrats and a civil rights group.

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, now Democratic National Committee chairman, issued a statement Wednesday blasting McDonnell’s exclusion of slavery from the original proclamation.

“Governor McDonnell’s decision to designate April as Confederate History Month without condemning, or even acknowledging, the pernicious stain of slavery or its role in the war disregards history, is insensitive to the extraordinary efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the nation’s wounds, and offends millions of Americans of all races and in all parts of our nation,” Kaine wrote.

“A failure to acknowledge the central role of slavery in the Confederacy and deeming insignificant the reprehensible transgression of moral standards of liberty and equality that slavery represented is simply not acceptable in the America of the 21st century,” he continued.

McDonnell quietly declared April Confederate History Month after two previous Democratic administrations refused to do so.

“It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present,” the proclamation reads in part.

Virginia Delegate Kenneth Alexander, chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, said the governor’s proclamation was offensive.

It “offered a disturbing revision of the Civil War and the brutal era that followed,” Alexander, a Democrat, said in a written statement. “Virginia has worked hard to move beyond the very things for which Gov. McDonnell seems nostalgic.”

The Virginia chapter of the NAACP also condemned the proclamation, The Washington Post reported. The group did not immediately return phone calls to CNN.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans asked the governor to declare April Confederate History Month in Virginia, which had seceded from the Union on April 17, 1861.

Brandon Dorsey, a spokesman for the group, told CNN Radio that Confederate History Month isn’t about slavery or race, but about studying the four-year history of the Confederacy. He said it will also help draw visitors to the many Civil War battle sites in Virginia, helping to boost tourism.

“The proclamation’s main goal is to call attention to the fact that there is Confederate history in the state of Virginia, of course, across the South,” Dorsey said. “It’s simply a tool to expose individuals to that history. … It’s not meant to discriminate against anybody.”

Other Southern states have issued similar proclamations for April. In Alabama, Republican Gov. Bob Riley declared April, the month the Civil War began, as Confederate History and Heritage Month. His statement condemned slavery.

So I guess slavery needs to be mentioned forever. Even 150+ years after it ended. We should mention some other issues as well then… the displacement and eradication of American Indians for instance… but that isn’t as important, apparently. The atrocities taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq. The killing by US forces all over the globe… but no… slavery has to be remembered forever. It is a joke. Reminds me of the jews’ never ending claims for “always remember the holocaust”… Now is now… yesterday was yesterday. Yes, whatever happened was awful and hopefully it won’t happen again… The end.

Pope protecting child abusers… anyone surprised???

The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The cleric went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria.

The priest was sent from Essen to Munich for therapy in 1980 when he was accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, who was then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

The priest, identified only as H, was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing minors after he was moved to pastoral work in nearby Grafing. In 1986 he was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and fined DM 4,000 (£1,800 today). There have been no formal charges against him since.

The church has been accused of a cover-up after at least 170 allegations of child abuse by German Catholic priests. The scandal broke in January but the claims, which continue to emerge, span three decades. Critics say that priests were redeployed to other parishes rather than dismissed when they were found to be abusing children.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said that there had been no complaints against the priest during the therapy at a church community in Munich. It said that the decision to let him continue working in Grafing was taken by Gerhard Gruber, now 81, who was vicar general of the archdiocese.

The Vatican said that Mgr Gruber had taken “full responsibility” for the priest’s move back into pastoral work but did not comment further.

Mgr Gruber said that the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower-level officials. “The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said. “The repeated employment of H in pastoral duties was a serious mistake … I deeply regret that this decision led to offences against youths. I apologise to all those who were harmed.” He did not indicate whether the convicted paedophile would be allowed to continue working in the church.

An American group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said it “boggles the mind to hear a German Catholic official claim that a credibly accused paedophile priest was reassigned to parish work without the knowledge of his boss, then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger”. Any expulsion of a priest from the Church, however, must go through the Vatican.

The Pope was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 and then moved to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post that he held until his election as pontiff five years ago after the death of John Paul II.

Priest H worked in an old people’s home for two years after his conviction. He then moved to the town of Garching, where he became a curate and later a church administrator. In May 2008 he was removed from his duties in Garching and was not allowed to work with young people. He still works in the diocese, according to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which broke the story.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of Germany’s Catholic bishops, apologised yesterday to the victims of clerical sex abuse after meeting Pope Benedict. He said that the German-born Pope had expressed “great dismay” over the scandals and had encouraged him to take “decisive and courageous steps” to tackle the problem.

Mgr Zollitsch, Archbishop of Freiburg, said that the German Church would investigate abuse allegations and take measures to prevent a recurrence. He said that the Pope had been “deeply moved” by his report of sex abuse cases in Germany, and had praised the naming of a bishop to act as a clerical sex-abuse watchdog. He added that paedophilia was not confined to the Roman Catholic Church.

Mgr Gerhard Müller, the Bishop of Regensburg, said there was “not even a minimal link” between paedophilia and priestly celibacy, which would “not be modified”.