I’ve posted an interview I did with one of the Swedish hackers in Malmö a few weeks ago. I was surprised at how demanding transcription is—trying to type quickly enough to keep up with the recording, while still inserting the correct punctuation to make it readable. The word count balloons quickly, too. The formal interview part of my talk with Olle was only about 20 minutes, but it wound up being close to 2,000 words.
One cool thing about Sweden is that it has relatively strong legal protections for freedom of speech and online privacy, especially by European standards. As a result, it’s something of a hotspot for peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright infringement. The other day, I slept in the same basement as one of the Pirate Bay admins. I felt a little bit like I was in the presence of internet royalty.
The pirates in Sweden have even created an organized political party to lobby for changes to copyright law in Sweden. Recently, the youth wing of this party, Ung Pirat (Young Pirates) received around $159,000 from the government bureau tasked with giving money to youth organizations to encourage young people’s participation in politics. Ung Pirat is apparently the third largest youth political organization in Sweden, and the money is distributed according to membership.
Due to the arrival of visiting relatives, I had to move out of the place I’ve been staying for the last week or so. I was planning on staying at the local hostel, but neglected to make a reservation. I sort of figured, “Who the heck goes to Malmö in January?” and assumed getting a bed would be no problem. Whoops. No room at the inn tonight. I made a reservation for tomorrow, but was left stranded for this evening. Faced with a choice between ~90 euro for a fancy-ish hotel room, or ~10 euro to hang out in an all-night internet cafe, I made my selection. It’s actually one of those gaming cafe places, and it’s surprisingly busy at 5 am. I am vastly under-utilizing a serious gaming PC for light web surfing and lighter dozing.
However, Europe has absolutely nothing on Japan when it comes to all-night internet places for people with no place to sleep, where they even have a name for such people, the 90s-sounding “cyber-homeless”:
I received the following throughly entertaining spam email yesterday:
Ref. Number: NM/BC921245/KY17
STAATS LOTERIJ HEADQUARTERS
Lotto Winner of 1,000,000.00 Euros
Ticket number: 46939
ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement of the winners of the STAATS LOTTERY POGRAMS
held on 13th January 2009.Your Company or your personal e-mail address is attached to winning number
ticket number: 46949 with Batch number NM/207361/WOP drew the lucky numbers 887-13-865-39-10-83,
and consequently won in the first lottery category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay
out of One Million EUROS (1,000,000.00) in cash credited to file REF NO: NL/BC7765468/WJ14 and Ticket
This is from total prize money of 10,000,000.00 Million Euros, shared among the Ten international winners in
this category.All participants were selected through our Microsoft computer ballot system drawn from 21,000
names, 3,000 names from each continent, as part of International “E-MAIL” Promotions Program, which is
conducted once in everyfour years for our prominent MS WORD user all over the world,and for the
continuos use of E-mail.
Your fund has been deposited in an escrow account with our affiliate Bank here in NETHERLAND, and
insured with your REF NO: NM/BC921245/KY17 and your E-mail address. You are to keep your ref. number
and Ticket number from the public, until you have been processed and your money remitted to your
personal account.We hope with your prize, you will be happy to promote the use of E-mail and the use of
MS WORD. To claim your winning prize, you must first contact the claims department by email or call for
processing and remittance of your prize money to you. Your assigned claims Director contact is:
He is to help you in claiming your due prize. Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than the
31st January, 2009. All funds not claimed on or before the fixed date will be penalized accordingly. NOTE:
In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and ticket
numbers in all correspondences with your claims director. All response should be sent to
For STAATS LOTTERY, NETHERLANDS.