Vegard Skjefstad

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Author: Vegard Skjefstad (page 3 of 461)

Delete Your Instagram Account Today!

So you finally came around and deleted your Facebook account? Congratulations! Now it’s time to delete Instagram as well.

It’s Easter, which means a long weekend here in Norway. Thursday through Monday are holidays, and many people take the entire week off because schools and most kindergartens are closed for Easter vacation.

It’s common for Norwegians to head up into the mountains during Easter. They don’t do it to come closer to God, but to relax in their cozy cabins. Easter also means high tide in social media. People are not shy about sharing their photos of said cabins, snow, skiing, and of course, the evergreen Norwegian tradition of eating oranges and Kvikk Lunsj.

Many of these photos are shared on Instagram. It’s one of the most popular photo sharing services on the internet. In June 2018, Instagram had 1 billion monthly active users. These users have shared a total of 50 billion photos since the photo sharing service was launched in 2010.

On the surface, Instagram is pretty neat. But did you know that Instagram’s parent company is Facebook?

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The Gathering

As I’m writing this, more than 4000 nerds, geeks, and freaks are attending The Gathering. It’s a good time for an aging nerd to take a quick trip down memory line.

The Gathering, or TG for short, is the world’s second largest LAN party. Computer enthusiast meet to play games, flex their creative muscles, show off their custom rigs, get new games1, make new friends, and generally have a good time. The very first TG was organized during Easter back in 1992. All the schools are closed for 5 days during Easter, it was a perfect time to gather the core audience. More than 1200 people attended the first TG, and in 1993 an additional 200 people visited the party.

The Gathering soon outgrew its original venue, and in 1996 TG moved to The Viking Ship just outside Hamar. The indoor sports arena was built for the 1994 Winter Olympics. With modern infrastructure and prime geographical location, The Viking Ship contributed further to The Gathering’s success. In 1996 the party was visited by a record breaking 2500 people.

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WTF Happened To The Superbook?

The Superbook promised to be a technological masterpiece that would turn your smartphone into a laptop. But WTF happened to it?

The Superbook was revealed back in 2016. In a very successful Kickstarter campaign, creator Andromium Inc. showed a device that could turn your Android smartphone into a laptop for as low as $85. The idea was simple: Install Andromium’s custom launcher on your smartphone, connect it to the physical Superbook shell via USB and voila! Your phone is now a fully working laptop.

Despite renowned tech manufacturer ASUS’ repeated failed attempts to achieve the same1, people obviously have bad short-term memory. When the campaign ended on August 20, 2016, 16,732 backers had pledged $2,952,508 to Andromium Inc.

Then, in classic Kickstarter fashion, the waiting started.

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Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting used to be a thing. Then it was not a thing. Now it’s a thing again. But what is carbon offsetting, and does it have any effect at all?

Let’s start with the “what”. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. There are currently two different carbon offsetting schemes: The EU compliance market, and the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

In the EU mandatory compliance market, governments and industries in the union have to buy carbon offsets to comply with the caps on the total amount of CO2 they are allowed to emit. The market has a fixed number of carbon offsets available. To reduce the total EU greenhouse gas emission, that number is gradually decreased every year. Less carbon offsets means that those available for purchase will become more expensive. In turn, this means that it will be increasingly more expensive to pollute within the EU. At some point it will then be sensible, not just from an environmentally friendly point of view, but also from an economical perspective, to replace polluting industrial processes with greener ones.

The other carbon offset market, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is voluntary. Using the CDM, individuals, companies, and governments can purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions. The money raised from the sale of carbon offsets is used to fund environmentally friendly projects around the world. As an example, if a German citizen purchases carbon offsets to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel, that money can potentially be used to build a solar power plant in India.

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Review: “Frontlines” series by Marko Kloos

Over the last year, I’ve read the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos. Here’s my review of how the entire collection of military science-fiction novels stacks up.

The year is 2108. A young Andrew Grayson is a welfare rat living in one of the North American Commonwealth’s many Public Relations Clusters, PRCs. It’s a overcrowded, crime-ridden, community where day-to-day survival is the main focus for most people. There are only two ways out. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service in the war against the Sino-Russian Alliance.

Andrew decides to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. This decision puts him on a decade long path from welfare rat to experienced military officer. Crushing welfare riots as a foot solider in the Territorial Army, or battling the SRA for off-world real estate is a tough and grueling job. But it’s a walk in the park compared to the dangers Andrew faces when blood thirsty aliens suddenly show up on humanity’s doorstep.

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