A less than great week

So i’m having one of those weeks again. Let’s start by describing what happened last Sunday. I was walking to the store to pick up some necessities, when i noticed that my Nissan had been broken into. The shotgun-side front window had been busted to shit, and my GPS was gone. Now yes, i made a mistake by leaving it out in the open. I was naîve, thinking that my GPS was safe in a car in Helsinki. I’ve always kept it out, but i guess i now live in a neighborhood populated by a bunch of junkies.

Anyway, it was far from a clean job. The window was shattered to a million bits inside the car, and half of it had dropped inside the door. Cleaning it up just so i could drive it to work and put it in the garage was a bitch. So yeah, i decided, instead of taping a black plastic bag over the broken window, i decided to drive it to a safer place. Who know, maybe the same fuck would have come back for my 1994 Green Day “Dookie” cd that i still had in the glove compartment. He also left a 100 euro inverter. I guess it could have been anyone, but my money is on some junkie looking for his next fix of cheap drugs (Subutex or some such stuff). A GPS like that retails for 150 euros or so, and on the black market it ought to fetch 30 bucks? Maybe 40? And that gets you what? In Helsinki, maybe a fourth of a gram of cocaine (probably not his brand of poison), or a few pills of subutex or some benzos.

Sigh.

Anyway, as soon as i noticed what had happened, i pick up my Galaxy S, and call the insurance company to ask about what to do next. However, as i’m slightly shocked by the events, i fumble, and drop my phone, which hits the asphalt with a resounding thump. Perfectly flat on its screen. I pick it up, and next thing you know, i’m picking out small pieces of glass from my hand. Great. Broken car. Broken phone. Phone still works, so i make the call anyway. Insurance company tells me to call the cops, and take the car to a shop for repairs.

Now, all this hinges on the po-lice. The five-oh. Come monday, i look up from their site how to make a report, which can be done either at the station, online or over the phone. I’m adviced by the site that i should not use the electronic form if the crime involves someone breaking in somewhere. Someone broke into my car to steal shit, so i figure i’ll call them instead. On the fourth call, someone picks up. Here’s the dialog:

Me: Hey, i need to make a report. Someone broke into my car.

5-0: Yeah? Well you need to fill out the online form

Me: But.. it said..

5-0: We can’t take reports like this over the phone. Either visit a police station, or fill out the online form.

Me: Fine.

I was stumped, but then again, my faith for our men and women in blue is .. minimal to begin with, so i was not altogether amazed.

So i look up the online form thing. I have to authenticate using my online banking codes. Fine, that’s fairly standard in things like this where you need to be sure who’s doing what. I fill in my info, and it says “Sending this information [insert name and social security number here] to the requesting site. Again, standard practice. I’m then taken to this 90’s rendition of a website, with a simple html form asking for different kinds of information. The first bits of information requested? My name and social security number, which i just authenticated to be sent over for. But hey, okay. Can you make a report under some other persons name? Doesn’t make sense to me why you’d authenticate as John Doe, and then make a report under the name Jane Doe, with her soc.security number. That smells illegal, you know?

So i fill in the fields, which are by the way, limited to like 50 characters. Try describing anything in 50 chars. Try writing the model name of the stolen items in 50 chars. There was also a field which asked how i wanted a copy of the report. The options were “by snail mail” or “i’ll pick them up”. I hit “by mail”, and then decide to click the “info” button next to the field. It says “You can get it by email (but that’s unencrypted mind you!), by mail, or you can pick it up”. There’s no field for “email”, and since the buttons are radio-buttons, i can’t de-select the choice i already made. I was stuck. Fucking sucks. I send it in anyway, and i get a date and time, a reference number. I then file a report with the insurance company. This is a PDF-file, with fillable forms. I then *print it out* because my insurance company doesn’t offer an electronic way of sending in stuff. There are rumors of an email address that accepts stuff, but it’s not public or i didn’t find it. So i then proceed to fucking fax over the form to the insurance company. *bepbepbeeep* Hey look, it’s the 90’s calling. Yeah? Okay. They said they want their technology back.

Jesus fucking christ.

Then i drive over to the car repair shop, so they can take pictures and get an estimate over to the insurance company. So far all good. Two days pass. On the third, i get a call from the insurance company, who say they have not heard from the police department. I then call the police, who give me the run-around, and finally forward me to the documents department. They spend a good 15-20 minutes searching for my report. They ask for my name. They ask for my social security number. The date and time i sent it in. The city i live in. None of these apparently produce any results, and i’m left to wonder whether they ever got the report or not. I try to offer the clerk the reference number that i got after i filed the report. Her reply? “No that’s useless. I can’t do anything with that”. So what, either she’s incompetent, or the reference number is.. a random generated number to make me feel better?

Also, i’ve never made a crime-report. And there should only be one person with my name and social security number in the entire country. So how can it be this difficult to find my report? This is beginning to sound like the work of some big IT service provider.

I was also told that “No the documents are not sent to the insurance company unless they request them (which they also don’t automatically). So i either have to ask the insurance company to ask the police to get the documents, or wait for the police to send the documents to me, so i can i guess..uh.. fax to the insurance company.

All this has yet to happen. No nothing from the po-po. The car guys are waiting for the insurance company, who are waiting for the police. So i’m stuck until they do their thing. Great.

..as for the phone

As i didn’t have a company phone (or i did, but i gave it away to a colleague when i got the galaxy s), i decided to get one ordered for me to replace the now-fucked Samsung. I wanted the Galaxy S 2, but they didn’t have it in stock, and i’m a very impatient man, so i got the HTC Desire Z (the HTC Vision elsewhere). That’s the qwerty-slider. I’ll write something about it once i’ve had a chance to use it first. It seems solid, and they physical keyboard is a nice thing to have around. Also, it supports Cyanogen Mod 7.1.

This week in news

A few bits and bobs for my odd readers. Not odd as in weird but.. ah, you get the point.

I’m growing increasingly pissed at tabloid “news”. I might go as far as calling their bullshit-spinning an art form. Over a million people read tabloid news every day. That’s over a fifth of the population. Now does that fall on the age old adage of keeping the stupid unwashed hordes pleased? Maybe. And sometimes looking outside, i’m inclined to believe just that. There’s even a thread on MuroBBS dealing with the stupidity that the tabloids churn out each day. I mean, most of this is either purposefully crafted lies, or sheer malice, because i can’t believe they are this stupid…

I ordered “Market Forces” by Richard Morgan, which was the only book of his i did not already own. It’s starting out pretty well, but of course i’ll read it through before passing final judgement. It’s this whole future (though this time near-future), corporations run shit deal. I picked up the book used, since i was feeling like getting a hardcover. This was shipped over from the UK, from the “East Riding of Yorkshire Library”, and used to actually be a library copy. It’s wrapped in tough plastic film, but you do see signs of wear and tear. Perfectly readable though, but the seller posted it as “very good condition”, which is a bit iffy. But for the 3.50 euro  (including postage) that i paid, i’m as happy as a pigeon with a french fry. Bought if off play.com, through their playtrade-thingy.

On the Android-side of life, i switched from GingerReal, to the Cyanogen Mod, while also upgrading to the 2.3.5 kernel. I’m running on the nightly version of the 7.0 for Samsung Galaxy S. It’s a version obviously built each night, but the codebase seems to be fairly stable, so so far i’ve had no large issues with it. Some things change wildly over night, such as the lockscreen, or the camera, but it’s mostly for the better. The customizability is unparalleled, and though the synthetic benchmark scores are lower (1600 vs. 2100 for GingerReal), but the system still seems responsive (enough), and above all else, more stable. GingerReal does have more tweaks for the kernel, the processor and the filesystem so that explains most of the weirdness, and the crazy-high performance.

At work, i’ve spent the last few weeks setting up a Sun M4000 box with Solaris 10 U10, and then installing some new UPS’s. The M4000 was otherwise rather uneventful, but a notable detail was that the XSCF console port still only handshakes with fucking 100mbit. Which means, that some of our more high-end Cisco-gear don’t really want to talk to it. Which means, just for this purpose, we have to hook it up to a switch that also talks 100mbit. I wonder how much more it could honestly cost, considering it’s a several-ten-thousand-euro machine. Twenty cents? Bring it Oracle, our budget can take it!

Did i mention the price of coffee is rising something crazy here in Finland? Well if not, then i’ll say it now. The price of coffee is rising something crazy here in Finland. Honestly. The brand of espresso i buy, from Paulig, has gone up nearly a euro. For a five euro bag to now cost six-ish euros, is pretty steep. For 250 grams of pre-ground coffee, that is. And since i have my DeLonghi espresso-machine, i can’t really not use it, being the caffeine-addict that i am. I still mostly drink instant coffee, which will probably be frowned upon by most people. But seriously, try it out. Forget the preconceptions. The coffee i drink mostly is Nescafés’ Classic (used to be Red Cup). The price of that has also gone up, but.. It’s kind of like gasoline. We said “we refuse to drive if gasoline costs over 1.50 euros” (which it now does), but yet, the traffic jams each morning are as bad as they ever were. I wonder if 2 euros will be the limit? Probably not. So keep on raising those prices Oil and Gasoline-guys, we can still take it further up the ass!

On the OpenBSD-front, i did some upgrading of my 4.9 box, to bring it up to -current. It was a fun and educational experience. Waiting for 5.0, even though it won’t be anything revolutionary, as the OpenBSD schedule advances .1 every 6 months. Round numbers mean nothing. Except maybe symbolically. I did not manage to get the kernel to build, and Google wasn’t being too helpful. I’ll have to look at that some other time.

My pet peeve privacy is probably going to take a big hit thanks to our glorious Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen (of the beloved Christian Democratic party). She’s now come out and said that she would support releasing fingerprint data collected for new biometric passports since 2009 for use in criminal investigations of “serious crime”. Now take a seat and close your eyes. The other one too. And go way back to 2009. We were told that this new biometric data being added to the passports was due to international pressure, and would not be used for anything else except travel related identification. You can open your eyes now, and fast forward to 2011. What are they saying? They want to give the data to cops who are investigating “serious crimes”? Gee-whiz! I never saw this coming! Slide something in, convince people it’s not what they think, and then fuck them over once they’ve forgotten about what you said. Also, who the hell decides what a serious crime is? But yeah, i guess that was the previous administration who made all those promises, so in our grand democratic system, those things are all forgotten and buried. But rest assured, i have not forgotten. And lucky me! I’m up for a passport renewal (since they cut the maximum validity of a passport from 10 to 5 years…), so i’ll have to get a passport with the fingerprint if i want to go to the US next year for Hope number..9? Is it really number nine already? I guess.

Enough ranting for this post.