Monday, November 24, 2008

Moving back on topic

OK, enough ranting about what is happening in this little bananaless republic. I will stick to telecoms related topics and direct everyone who is interested in the ongoing free speech controversy in Latvia to this new blog of mine, Free Speech Emergency in Latvia. So please go there. Free speech is the reason we are able to write about anything we want to (but not anymore in Latvia). I will continue to write what I think about IT and telecoms here, and what I think of the f**kwits running the Security Police on that new blog.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Latvia threatens to prosecute Security Police critics

The Latvian Security Police, according to a newspaper report, have threatened to prosecute anyone publicly commenting that the Security Police, who arrested a university lecturer for remarks about the financial crisis, are moving the country toward totalitarianism and repressing freedom of speech.
According to the newspaper Diena's portal, the Security Police "do not exclude starting criminal proceedings" against anyone commenting on the internet and expressing agreement with the views of the detained (since released and put under a travel ban) lecturer Dmitrijs Smirnovs or asserting that the Latvian Security Police were returning the country to totalitarianism by repressing freedom of speech. 
Sorry about yet another off-topic, but I think we are heading for a free speech emergency in Latvia. 

Latvia detains, restricts travel of academic for economy comments

Another offtopic about the outrageous behavior of this little authoritarian no-banana republic:

The Latvian Security Police (Drošibas policija) detained for two days and then banned a college lecturer from leaving the country for remarks about the economy in a panel discussion that were later published in a newspaper.
Dmitrijs Smirnovs, a lecturer in accounting and finance at Ventspils University College has been ordered not to leave the country after his release from two days of interrogation by the Security Police about his remarks that Latvians should not keep their money in banks and in Latvian lats.
Smirnovs argued that excessive credit, mainly by Swedish-owned banks, had created a precarious situation and also blamed the Bank of Latvia, the nation's central bank, for failing to regulate and restrict excessive and imprudent lending.
Also questioned by the Security Police was Valters Fridenbergs, a young musician, who joked about withdrawing money from two Latvian banks during a break in a concert.

After these events, it is fair to say that the functions of the former Soviet and Soviet Latvian KGB -- the persecution and intimidation of dissent and free speech -- are being revived by the Latvian Security Police. Latvia has taken a significant step toward becoming an authoritarian state.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Migrating to GMail, screw Yahoo!

Yahoo! mail for me is in some kind of systemic failure, inaccessible due to errors 999 or 5 or 14 or whatever now for nearly a week. This is regardless of where I have been accessing it from: a Verizon DSL connection in Newton, MA or a Comcast cable internet connection in Wayland, MA in the US, a Lattelecom DSL connection in Riga, and now, an ultrafast corporate Lattelecom (?) connection at my workplace. Yahoo (which reminded me, recently, to pay USD 19.95 for its premium service) sucks totally and I have started a rather cumbersome, but necessary migration to Gmail. Perhaps I should also open a back-up Hotmail account. Those with a need-to-know will be informed of my new (old, actually, just haven't used Gmail that much) address. It is juriskaza(thingy)gmail(Dot)com (so f**k you e-mail scanning spam bots).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yahoo! degrades to garbage level service

If I had not been in the US, then back in Latvia experiencing the same problems, I wouldn't write this so harshly. My primary e-mail for general purpose communications, Yahoo!, has been regularly down for a variety of error codes, 5, 15, and of late, 999.
In the US, I attempted to access my e-mail through Verizon DSL (at my mother's house), then through Comcast at my brother's house and now through Lattelecom DSL in Riga. Yet again, I see code 999. Complaining repeatedly to Yahoo doesn't help. I use a brand new aluminum Macbook, and Macs have little or no malware or viruses. Also, to register a complain requires one to decipher extremely twisted and obscure combinations of letters and numerals, designed not so much as to deter automated use of the site as to simply prevent ordinary users from bothering them.
I am just curious whether anyone else is experiencing this, what appears to, global deterioration of Yahoo service. I have been paying some USD 19.95 annual fee for a higher level of service. I also wonder if anyone has a migration strategy for moving all of one's Yahoo contacts and automatically forwarding Yahoo mail to a site that isn't f**ked half the time, like Gmail.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Some sad personal news

I have been busy at my day job and hoped to put in some more video from IBM Information on Demand, but I have sadly received word that my father, 91, passed away after a longer illness November 6 in a nursing home near Boston. I got to see him shortly before IOD, stopping for a few days in the Boston area. So I am heading over again for the funeral and will be back on station after November 17.