Erik I

My public writing. You can reach me at @eitland@mstdn.io

Filed under #NewsFromNorway and #Norway

Norway lost in Strasbourg today: https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22languageisocode%22:[%22ENG%22],%22documentcollectionid2%22:[%22JUDGMENTS%22],%22itemid%22:[%22001-195909%22]}

I guess this is a good decision, but I also think it is somewhat more complicated than a lot of people think.

Filed under #internet #folksonony and #thoughts

I posted my 7400th bookmark on pinboard.in today.

I've been thinking I should go back and organize my bookmarks[0].

I might still do that but I don't think it is important: the important thing is I can find stuff I saw years ago.

Sometimes it is useful, sometimes not: it might have disappeared, or might not be as good as I thought back then.

Possibly more important though is the fact that it allows me to forget about it.

A few tricks I use:

  • I use hidden tags to add context I don't want to share to my bookmarks. For example I add .interesting to something I should get back to or .project to something that I look into because of a project I'm working on. (And “projects” can be both .learningAngular as well as .newCar2018 or .doomedSideProject432).
  • I use : to namespace tags. As a practical example I often add a license: tag to open source projects I bookmark.
  • When I realize that I have already bookmarked a page sometime before I'll add a .secondTime hidden tag.

[0]: my collection is older than pinboard.in and used to be on del.icio.us back before they were bought and “improved” until they became unusable.

Filed under #opensource and #interesting

This looks really useful, kind of like a library version of parts of sandstorm.io: https://userdashboard.github.io/home

According to the author it is not finished yet but I think the architecture can make it easy to use in a lot of projects.

Filed under #weblog, #art and #interesting

Found this on HN the other day: http://www.gabrielegalimberti.com/toy-stories/

I found the perspective refreshing and the lack of judgment refreshing. Bias is of course always present, but it was not obvious to me which way it went.

For some contrast regarding judgment vs the artists observation, consider the discussion on HN (who were kind of reasonable this time despite some hot button topics being mentioned): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20902881

Filed under #advertising and #software

I sometimes do unpaid advertising if I really like a product. If the product is good, doesn't nag me to post reviews or anything and I still like it after some time I will sometimes sit down and write something nice about it.

ManicTime is such a program: It is a program to help you log your billable hours, but unlike others that expects me to remember to stop the timer when I leave the computer or an interruption lasts longer than a few minutes, -ManicTime just logs what program I used at the time, if the computer was locked or not, if there was a long break since last I typed etc. Based on this I can click and drag to select parts of my day and assign it to projects. No forgotten hours, and I also don't have to worry about writing too many hours.

It can also snap screenshots while logging and they show up when you hver over the timelines.

In addition to being featureful it is also easy-to-use and snappy.

The whole thing works locally as far as I am aware (unless you explicitly ask it to log to a server, which can be a local server that you control.)

I often don't use Windows for months, and then I can't use ManicTime, but when I return to Windows, sooner or later I search my mail box to find the license key for the last version I bought.

Let me also mention that the support is amazing AFAIK. I can still download a version that works with my license key, they even took the time to make patched release after my license was expired.

Filed under #streetart #Drammen #Norway

One of the best walls I've seen “live”, showing people peeking out behind the blinds:

People peeking out behind the blinds.

It is located on the left hand side of the tracks right before you arrive at Drammen train station from Oslo.

Filed under #ux and #android

Some time in 2015 I left SwiftKey behind and started depending on the built in keyboard of my phone (Samsung) which I guess had been been licensed or copied from SwiftKey. The reason was that while the predictions where good it had started picking up some bad habits, particularly it would capitalize the letter i even in Norwegian sentences, something that doesn't make sense at all. It had also removed the option to disable auto correct at some point which meant it would “correct” perfectly fine words into funny, embarrassing or dangerous ones (just like iOS do today if you don't stop it.)

Today I reinstalled SwiftKey. The reasons ar GBoard, the standard keyboard app in Android One

  • just can't understand that you can write perfectly fine English on a Norwegian keyboard and therefore insist that you install both (even if it allows you to have English predictions on your Norwegian keyboard as soon as you have installed the English keyboard.)

  • this would have been OK if it wasn't for the fact that keyboard layout would sometimes change for apparently no good reason.

So far SwiftKey has impressed me today. Intelligent predictions, no snags, neither in English nor in Norwegian.

And GBoard, just like SwiftKey 4 years ago just doesn't seem to get it.

One thing to be aware of though:

If privacy is important to you, make sure you take the time to prevent sending of snippets back to SwiftKey. These settings are located in at least two different places, just so you are aware.

Filed under #observations #sleeping

I can hear the sound of something outside, probably a rather large vessel down at the fjord.

We have a few big ones there every week it seems, here's one from today: FRONT THOR ( Images)

I'm supposed to get up in about three hours :–/

Filed under: #instructions

Edit: Gift Egwuenu mentions a couple of tricks I had forgotten (intitle, intext) and one I thought didn't work anymore (using an asterisk as a wildcard in the query.)

Just helped someone with an Internet search again and I figured out now might be a good time to write down a few pointers as there's always someone who doesn't know.

So, here are some tricks that not everyone might be aware of yet (and be sure to read my rant at the end before you get angry with me if it doesn't work):

Type in your query like this:

blueberry cake recipe

This seems nothing extraordinary but here is one thing to be aware of anyway:

Modern search engines will typically apply a process I refer to as fuzzing[0]. This means that while older search engines – including older versions of todays search engines – would only include results that included both blueberry and cake and recipe in the text, todays search engines will typically guess that you might also be interested in blueberry pie recipes as well. Sometimes this is good, other times annoying, which brings me to my next topic:

Using quotes to get exact hits

Type in your query line this, note the doublequotes (“) before and after the query:

“blueberry cake recipe”

This should [1] give you only results that contains the exact phrase blueberry cake recipe. You can also[2] use it to search for a single unusual or misspelled word, for example you can search for “mispeled” if you want to see some websites where that particular word is misspelled.

Using the verbatim option to get exact hits

Google has a verbatim option in the settings above the search field on desktop browsers. It should[3] instruct Google to use your words verbatim.

Using – to avoid results containg specific words

Type in your query and add – in front of words you don't want to see in your results:

blueberry cake recipe -cinnamon

This should give you a list of results that contain both blueberry and cake and recipe but not cinnamon.

Using site: to search within a site

If you want to find a certain result on a certain web site you can try the site: operator:

blueberry cake recipe site:itland.no

This should only return pages containing the words blueberry cake receipt (or similar) from itland.no.

Using inurl: to search for words within the url (the complete page address as opposed to just the domain)

We are now approaching the edge of my knowledge (I have a couple more tricks up my sleeve, but I'm not prepared to tell them right now).

But here is a last one for today, the inurl operator, it can be used like this:

blueberry cake recipe inurl:pdf

Which should4 return only pages containing all the words blueberry cake recipe that also has the word pdf in the page address somewhere.

A short rant

Google isn't what it used to be. Personally I have switched to duckduckgo.com (yes, a funny name but that seems to be common for successful search engines [4] [5]. Duckduckgo is about as good as Google is now, a lot thanks to Googles efforts over the last decade to nerf their product in an effort to make it usable by monkeys, dogs and cats (just think about the new markets you can cover with ads if you can get cats and dogs to order their own food!)

Since the two are now more or less equal I opted for the one that doesn't track me and serve me wildly irrelevant ads at the same time (for ten years now the most relevant ads Google has found for me has been for more and more stupid dating sites. I'll mention it here again – for the record – that I am already happily married and have small kids at home.)

And, should it be a search I'm sure Google would do better I can always append an !g to the end of my query in Duckduckgo to be redirected to Google search.

[0]: I don't work with search engines and I can't remember where I learned this term.

[1] [2] [3]: You cannot depend on it anymore, mainstream search engines will frequently ignore your double quotes to give you more results.

Filed under #tech, #iot and #learning Edit: also #lifeInNorway and #Drammen

Just visited a meetup about IOT Edge devices where Rustam Mehmandarov and Tannaz N. Roshandel showed a reasonable new IOT device, the Google Edge TPU that is capable of doing object recognition at >100 fps while still being small enough to easily fit in my palm even when mounted on an easy-to-integrate PCB and with the optional camera attached.

In addition to showing a live demo and discussing development techniques they also discussed how this can improve on todays situation by allowing us for example to do recognition locally without having to upload pictures of everyone to Googles cloud wait for answers to come back (and hope they don't abuse it).

Part of me really liked these devices and part of me is scared: while Rustams first thought is reducing the amount of sensitive data that get shipped around all kinds of other ideas where thrown around as well in the discussions: how to work around Norwegian privacy laws and the GDPR etc.

Bad analogy time: I've been saying for a couple of years or so that data is a bit like diluted nuclear materials: mostly harmless in small amounts and properly contained, powerful and dangerous when concentrated and capable of creating massive destruction once it reaches critical mass or if used in a dirty bomb :–/

Anyways, this technology will be interesting to follow whatever people choose to use it for.


Side note: I'm on a train on my way home. We just got 5 minutes delayed in Drammen after a bloke with blood all over him refused to leave the train, swearing at the ambulance team who was there to help him.

He had an e-scooter with him and a long cut in his forehead so my guess is the poor bloke had crashed and got himself a real concussion.

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