Monday, July 30, 2007

beach party on Vecchiano (Marina di Pisa)

How lovely is that? 18 people, most of them with a scientific degree joined in purpose to produce the most perfect night on the beach ever done.
I've rarely seen such efficiency in Italy, really nicely done fellas!
I announce (and with a fair share of pride) that I was the fire maker. I just love taking care of fires and their hypnotic light, especially when the sight is enhanced by gnammy sausages. Before filling bread with those they were put in a pot with lemon and spices: never tasted anything so nice and filling. Good job girls!

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Naturally I couldn't help myself from taking a shot to the moon, but this time I think I did a fair good job...

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As usual the pictures are geo-tagged, in case you want to give it a try.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Me, a Fonero

I've just received my FON router.
For those of you who don't know what FON is go here: --> link
Amazing how things moved fast: I made the order no more then 3 days ago and I'm already here with my new router delivered by UPS!!!

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The package is complete: two sticks, LAN cable, router (so tiny!!!) and instructions; in shorts all you need to start up your WiFi freedom.
The lot costed just 20€ because a friend of mine invited me in (actually if you are interested I have some invites and I would be happy to use them).

Here is my new WLAN window. The linksys is my home network and now there are two more available, both from the FON router. One is for me only and is protected with WPA-PSK (but I can change it to WEP or open), while the other is open but naturally you need to be a fonero to use it!

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I discovered I can access the FON router settings through http://192.168.10.1/
It works via WAN and I can change the encription from WPA to WEP (or also make it open), modify the bandwidth for the FON users who happen to be within router range, change router's IP, forward ports, change passwords and activate SSID broadcasting.
I'm under the impression that when I'm logged in the protected network, users cannon access the free FON service.
There is still a little issue to be addressed. I'm used to a static IP configuration (no DHCP) for my computers so every time I log in the FON router I'm supposed to switch on the DHCP which is a little bit annoying.
In the and this is a worthy way to enhance the range of my home network and the possibility to login everywhere in the world with other Linuses is simply amazing.
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Monday, July 23, 2007

P2P un pochino più sicuro

Vi siete mai chiesti come facciano a spiare quello che scaricate da internet? A volte si ha l'impressione che chi controlla sia dotato di poteri sovrannaturali o abbia a disposizione strumenti fuori dal comune. Nella realtà le cose vanno più o meno così: voi cercate di scaricare un file messo in condivisione da altre persone, e un client installato su entrambi i computers si preoccupa di mettere i contatto i due IP, vostro e di chi possiede quel file in quel momento.
Una compagnia che volesse intercettare questa comunicazione dovrebbe necessariamente essere il vostro stesso ISP per poter vedere quello che state facendo, oppure essere l'ISP (internet service provider) dell'utente che possiede in share quel file.
Visto che gli ISP hanno altro cui pensare è evidente che c'è qualcun altro che monitorizza il traffico, no? Quello che succede in pratica è che sono queste stesse aziende a connettersi alla rete con un loro client personalizzato che condivide il file stesso ma si preoccupa al contempo di loggare tutti gli indirizzi IP che fanno richiesta di quel file o che contribuiscono alla sua diffusione.
Ebbene, questi falsi utenti hanno di norma un IP statico (cosa molto comune per le aziende) e quindi qualche buon samaritano ha pensato di creare una lista degli IP cattivi. Tutto quello che serve è un firewall istruito a schivare gli IP della grande industria e possibilmente un sistema semplice per condividere ed aggiornare la lsita degli IP "pericolosi", no?
Ovviamente ci hanno già pensato. Ci sono due programmi che fanno al caso e che sembrano funzionare molto bene. Sono dei firewall che si limitano a bloccare una lista di IP rintracciabile in rete, quindi non sono sostitutivi di un buon firewall hardware o software. Niente impedirebbe in realtà di attrezzare il nostro firewall software per bloccare liste di IP, se non che spesso questo rallenta notevolmente il sistema e non è semplicissimo importare liste.
Ho appena installato un programma chiamato Protowall che si installa come servizio di windows e come tale assorbe pochissime risorse


Immagine IPB

Ho lanciato un client per scaricare files ed ho scoperto che ben due aziende stavano controllando cosa facevo. Non sono carini?
Quello che succede è che queste aziende hanno pingato il mio client per verificare che fossi effettivamente online, ma evidentemente protowall ha intercettato il loro pacchetto dati ed ha risposto nisba.

Immagine IPB

Intendiamoci, questo è un piccolo deterrente. Non fornisce libertà di scaricare quello che si vuole. E' semplicemente un modo per proteggere la propria privacy da queste aziende invadenti e lo spirito di questo programma è protetto dalla UE che recentemente si è espressa al riguardo. Queste aziende infatti hanno ottenuto una lista di utenti cattivissimi e hanno interrogato gli ISP per conoscere i proprietari degli IP incriminati, ma proprio per la privacy i proprietari degli IP non sono stati divulgati.

Esattamente come per i virus questi programmi vanno tenuti aggiornati perché le aziende che controllano gli IP sono in continua evoluzione e cambiamento. La protezione non è totale. E' possibilissimo che molti sfuggano a questa barriera, ma è sempre meglio di nulla, no?

Vi dico subito che l'installazione non credo funzioni sotto Vista e per Mac l'altro programma che funziona ha apparentemente il server sotto attacco in questo momento
Installare il servizio richiede talvolta qualche tentativo. Non ci sono riuscito al primo colpo ed infatti all'avvio del programma mi veniva segnalato che il servizio non era stato caricato.
Ho fatto così:
  • installato il programma della directory suggerita
  • rinominata la directory
  • C:\Programmi\Dudez\ProtoWall\xp_driver
  • in
  • C:\Programmi\Dudez\ProtoWall\xpdriver
  • da Avvio --> Esegui... ho inserito la seguente stringa:
  • C:\Programmi\Dudez\ProtoWall\xpdriver\pwdrvinst.exe -i
  • risposto sempre installa mentre Win mi avvertiva che il driver non era certificato (me lo ha chiesto 5 o 6 volte)
Fatto questo il programma ha funzionato senza problemi

Con la nuova versione sembra che i problemi di installazione siano finalmente spariti e che quindi basti semplicemente installare per essere protetti. Fatemi sapere se vi interessa approfondire


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Saturday, July 21, 2007

HP7 is mine!

Got it: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is mine. I think I've got the very last copy left in La Spezia and that's something, isn't it?
Most of the book stores received no more then 16 copies and I got the 16th of the last one I visited.

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This morning I've got another nasty surprise, coming this time from Repubblica.it, the most important online news in Italy for number of clicks.
In the next picture you'll have proof of the spoiler they've made. I've just deleted the site from my bookmarks list: arrivederci jerks!

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*update**update**update**update**update*
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Not satisfied with that I decided to write a letter to the paper director: nasty work! The results of the first attempt were quite... impolite at best and scary at worst. Second and 3th were little more then acceptable and so on. In the end I've sent the 8th edition of the letter, spoiled of the core insults but readable.
Here it is:

Desidero ringraziare l’intera redazione di repubblica, nonché l’egregio direttore, per avermi comunicato il finale della saga di Harry Potter che stavo per andare a comprare in libreria questa mattina. Grazie di cuore. Era da anni in effetti che trepidavo per conoscere il finale della saga. Erano anni che favoleggiavo il momento in cui sarei uscito dalla libreria con una copia inglese tutta mia. Era anche da giorni che schivavo attentamente la televisione ed internet, perché sapevo che qualche giornalista, o pseudo tale, mi avrebbe fatto lo scherzo. Mai e poi mai però mi sarei sognato di trovare il finale scritto bello e chiaro su repubblica.it, in prima pagina in alto a destra dove l’occhio non può non cascare, e senza neanche un minimo di disclaimer (come invece ha fatto il Corriere).

Complimenti. Avrete ottenuto qualche click in più sul vostro giornale: bravi! Al contempo però avete perso per sempre la fiducia di un affezionato lettore.

Avrei preferito vedere le solite scene di nudo che sembra siano sempre più importanti per la vostra testata.

Vi lascio per sempre con una sola parola: vergognatevi!

(lettera firmata)

Età: 28 anni

I know: I didn't translate the letter. Suffice you to know that is starts with Congrats (in the object) and ends with "shame on you!"
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Italian news making spoilers of HP7 to help share

Tonight I'm in turmoil.
This is probably a very common Italian custom, something usually shown on the American movies: italians watching Telly at dinner time.
I don't usually watch TV; it has something to do with it being controlled (partially or totally, who cares any more) by the most shameful citizen of Italy (you know who) and, in general, being one of the worst televisions in EU. The only exception are the news which are interesting because in a few minutes you can get a glimpse of what's going on in Italy and some tiny little shy uncomplete infos about the rest of the world. I could easily get my live feeds from the net (I like BBC the most) but I've had some bandwidth issues of late which made it impossible to watch live streams from the internet. Thankfully today my DSL connection is back on shape!
This dinner time TV watching is a habit I don't resent giving up, not at all, not after tonight.

At 7.57 PM of 07/18/2007 the RAI most important channel, RAI1, started as usual its TG1 to update all the paying costumers on the main news of the day.
I got to be clear on that: italians don't like paying for TV, no more then the next man at the very least, but as far as they own a TV they are obliged to pay this absolutely unfair tax of TV-ownership to RAI. Not so long ago this entitled them to three channels without ads and some quality shows. Nowadays RAI is full of trash TV, no-stop ads and a full dose of tits every day, enough to disgust even a young watcher like me. You may start wondering what the money is all for since they do have ads. The answer is quite simple: money is necessary to pay people like Bruno Vespa, Santoro, half naked girls, some 100% idiot italian tv series with mediocre actors, Bonolis, american movies with italian dubs, the so called journalist blabbering about sexual adventures of football players and so on; in synthesis people that never performed a honest day of work in they wasteful lives or never did anything useful for society.
Since you have no choice on the matter most italians pay for the service and appear quite proud of doing so, like it was something honest people have to do. God protect them!

What enraged me tonight was the news about the coming last book of Harry Potter. As most of the World I'm a huge HP fan. I love it. I loved it since I started reading the first book. I learned written english on JK books and started learning spoken english on WB movies. I've been waiting for eons to read the final battle between the little wizard and Lord Voldemort. With every new book I've felt elated, jubilant and enthusiastic. Out of the bookstore with a shiny new book in my hands I've always felt a need of closure, isolation for the rest of the world to the sole purpose of reading the book. No lunch, no dinner and no sleep so far as the book had something to reveal in the next page. You understand what I mean, don't you?
Well, tonight I started watching the news a little later then usual, so I didn't get the synthesis of the news, and imagine my surprise when this "human" made a spoiler about the catharsis of the book, days before the official book selling start! Imagine my shock when I frantically tried to grab the remote and power off this stupid object. Imagine my sorrow while, pushing the freaking red button, I couldn't help but listen to what TG1 was spoiling.
I hate them. I totally hate them. They ruined the sore pleasure of a passionate reader. They ruined the waiting. They spoiled my trepidation.
I'm in distraught.

I'm sorry: I just cannot go on! I'll edit this post tomorrow when my bitterness has sobered down a little, else I say something I may come to regret.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

A day on Riomaggiore (cinqueterre)

CinqueTerre (= "five lands") are five fishing villages in the middle of Cinqueterre National Park, a few kilometers north-west of Golfo della Spezia; this park has recently received a prestigious acknowledgment by UNESCO, which has defined this territory as a "humanity's world heritage". Every year millions of tourists from all over the world visit this site thanks to the beauty of the national park, the crystal clear waters and mostly for the most charming path of the world: the love path (via dell'amore).

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I didn't walk the love path, not this time, because I was with lazy friends; for a native the love path is something done many times each year, so I'll surely get my chance of shooting some pictures from there before long.
Today we went to Riomaggiore (SP), the first of the 5 Terre (at least for those coming from La Spezia). There is a selection of ways to reach this place and all the others. My ultra rated suggestion is a motorbike, followed by boat and train. There are different pros and cons with each solution.
Coming by motorbike means a wonderful asphalt with impossible grip and constant fight between speed and the urge to stop the bike and shoot pictures. The road you'd take is at almost 200 meters o.s.l. which means a 270° sea sight. A very good tele is totally advised. The cons are that you must park the bike somewhere and that means going UP to the bike after a long hot day of sea. I won't go into details: you'll see...
Coming by boat is fascinating, I never actually tried it because, as native, I have some haste for invasive boats... but you can actually take the ferry from a lot of cities (Lerici, Fiumaretta, Portovenere etc.) or use your own (at least I believe so...).
By train you have top commodity. You can buy a full inclusive ticket (5 Terre-card) in La Spezia station (or any other), which gives you unlimited access to the trains to and from 5 Terre, and naturally you won't pay for the love path (yeah: you pay to access the love path but it's totally worth it). Try to picture it: you wake up in a camping site in Levanto, take the first train to Monterosso, stay there the time to shoot some pictures, take another train to Riomaggiore, come back to Vernazza, some love path and back to Levanto: all with the same cheap ticket! Another advantage is that the train stations are quite close to the sea: not so much to walk. Here is a little sample of Riomaggiore's

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Usually trains are so long (and full) that top and bottom are still well inside the tunnel and many tourists mistake the station for a train traffic-light or something.

The village is suspended into time. I've been there in every season and with every possible weather condition for many years and they still look the same.

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Ok, there are some ATMs, and a little bit too many tourists to consider it pure, but the core of the fishing village is preserved. Go to Monterosso at 5 o'clock in the morning and you'll see the fishers' boats coming back loaded with fish (acciughe in particular).

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Let's take a look at the sea now, shall we? You can't see it but there is a cave in Riomaggiore you can explore (about 30 meters deep). Go to the beach in the afternoon then swim close to the coast for about 200 meters on the south side.

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Most people can retaliate a place all by themselves.

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Finally the love path. This time there was no way I could go, but I climbed up to shoot the starting point of via dell'amore.

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A note about my Canon Powershot G7. The camera shot a total of 170 photos: 700MB in the SD card with an average of 4.5MB per photo. 2/3 of them where discarded but after just 1 week of use I'm totally in awe for this amazing gadget. The colors are amazingly true and I played a lot with the manual settings. Indeed: almost all the pictures were shot with manual settings but surely image stabilization and auto-focus helped a lot. I never used the tripod: there was absolutely no need. The battery gave no sign of giving away: I believe 100 more shot were available!
This place looks spectacular also below water: pity I can't afford the water cover.


My friends trying to locate an empty spot
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Antonio: beginning of Via dell'amore
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Lina (from Sweden) in the tunnel connecting the train station of Riomaggiore with the beach
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Christine (from France) smiling!!! First and only time in the whole day
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Davide and Lina
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Lina having a taste of pizza with Nutella
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Antonio
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Me without a tan
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Lina taking a shot with her cameraphone
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Lina
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Me with the tan and the beginning of Via dell'Amore
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This pic was taken because my friend wanted to test the zooming of the G7
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This one too :-D
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