From the monthly archives:

January 2012

Say NO to ACTA

by Henk ter Heide on Sunday January 22, 2012

in Blogging,Personal

It seems that the threads to the freedom of speech of ordinary people and there ability to earn an honest living is even bigger then the struggle against SOPA suggested.


Learn more and take action about ACTA at
(subtitles included : fr, en, es, de, it, nl, se, pt, ro, ca, hu, gr, …)

Here are few ways to act against ACTA, right now:

Ongoing translation and subtitling efforts:

Full script:

Can you imagine your Internet Service Provider policing everything you do online?
Can you imagine generic drugs that could save lives being banned?
Can you imagine seeds that could feed 1000’s being controlled and withheld in the name of patents?

This will become reality with ACTA.

ACTA is the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Disguised as a Trade Agreement, ACTA goes much, much further than that.

For the past 3 years, ACTA has been negotiated in secret by 39 countries.
But the negotiators are not democratically elected representatives.
They don’t represent us, but they are deciding laws behind our backs.

Bypassing our democratic processes, they impose new criminal sanctions to stop online file sharing.

ACTA aims to make Internet Service & Access Providers legally responsible for what their users do online, turning them into Private Copyright Police & Judge, censoring their networks.
The chilling effects on free speech would be terrible.

In the name of patents, ACTA would give large corporations the power to stop generic drugs before they reach them people who need them, and stop the use of certain seeds for crops.

The European Parliament will soon vote on ACTA.
This vote will be the occasion to say no once and for all to this dangerous treaty.
As citizens, we must urge our representatives to reject ACTA.


Learn more, Take action

A film directed by
BenoƮt Musereau

Script by
La Quadrature du Net

Animated by
Morgan Dupuy

Designed by
Marion Leblanc

Voice by
Axel Simon

Music by

La Quadrature du Net
CC-By-SA 2011-10
News & Politics
ACTA Copyright Police Trade Agreement Sharing Internet seeds Generic Drugs Educational
Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)


Did you lose all your friends when you where 13?

by Henk ter Heide on Thursday January 19, 2012

in Personal

The strange thing is that lonely people with a lot of problems always think
that their problems are generally known.
They hate their family and colleagues for not helping them.
In actual fact no one knows about your problems.
Even people who have gone through the same kind of problems as you are
experiencing, can’t see the difference between people who choose to be on their
own and people who don’t know how to make friends.
So if you recognize yourself in this article.
Don’t worry.
Nobody knows it’s about you.

Going through puberty is a difficult time.
A lot changes.
Not only your body changes, but also the way you think, the way you deal with
problems, the way you deal with people. Even your behavior changes; you learn
how to behave as an adult male or female (by imitating the behavior of your
father or mother).

A lot can go wrong.
And since there are so many developments going on there are a lot of different
problems adolescents can run into.
And just like most people with problems adolescents with problems are selfish
and only feel at ease with people with the same kind of problems.

And that is where the trouble starts.
As adults we tend to forget how limited the world of children and young
adolescents is.
Children will only talk with children their own age or maybe one year older or
Except at the start of puberty.
Thirteen year olds feel that twelve year olds are childish.
So they’ll only talk to children who are older. But fifteen year olds feel that
thirteen year olds are childish and won’t talk to them.
So thirteen year olds can only talk to other thirteen year olds and fourteen
year olds.

And then there are the geographical boundaries.
Children and young adolescents only know children within a 50 meters radius of
their home and only talk to children within a 3 meters radius of their seat at
Children at the front of the class don’t talk with children at the back of the

So when you’re thirteen there are about 10 children with whome you could be
If your thirteen and your parents are divorced and none of those 10 children
have parents that are divorced, it’s very easy to feel an outcast.
If you’re gay or have autism or some other less frequent problem it’s even less
likely that you know anyone with the same problems. And more likely that you
feel an outcast.

If you felt an outcast as a child you probably also felt picked on.
You felt that (some) children where mean spirits that took great joy in hurting
But actually they weren’t.
They were just frightened children with their own problems that hurt what they
didn’t understand.
(How could they have understood, since you never told them what hurt you…)
So you got used to doing things all by your selves.


Everything changes when you turn eighteen.
You go out to work or to study.
You have a lot more money, join a club or go to a pub.
In some countries you’re considered an adult, in others almost an adult. And
all of a sudden you find that every one between 18 and 81 wants to talk to you.
You find that there are hundreds of people who want to talk with you, and
dozens with the same problems as you have.

The only thing is that you have gotten used to going it alone.
You shrug people off.
You’re still afraid that people will hurt you.

It took me till I was in my early thirties before I realized that something had
In my teens children enjoyed setting me up for jokes that I didn’t understand.
In my thirties I came to understand that being friends isn’t a zero sum game:
People will only talk to you when they enjoy talking to you.
So for those of us who where picked on in our teens it’s very easy to drive the
people away who want to befriend us.

It’s very easy to prove that nobody wants to befriend you.
But if you try it’s as easy to find people who do want to befriend you.
And with the much bigger choice you have, it’s very easy to avoid the few
people you don’t like.



by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday January 17, 2012

in Blogging

Tomorow is stop SOPA day.
If the plugin does what it is supposed to do you’ll find this website
replaced by one page contain something like the story below:



So why am I joining in with this protest.
How could American law hurt a tiny website written by someone living in the

Well, I’m no legal expert.
But as I understand it, this law could be used to black out any website
anywhere in the world. That means that this kind of law can be used to
blackmail sites out of existent.
Having the ability to send a take down notice without having to prove to a
judge that a site is infringing on your copyright or even that you own the
copyright. Means that any American can use this law to make money.

Nowadays there are already little companies who earn their money as copyright trolls.
If this bill comes into law, domain trolls will send thousands of take down
notices to every .com .net and .org domain owner on the planet demanding to
pay for copyright infringement or else they will shutdown your site.

Even if the domain owner can prove that he isn’t infringing on someones
copyright his domain still could be shut down.
And off course, as is always the case with black mail, there is no limit to
the amount of take down notices one domain owner could get.
I could get thousand of take down notices a year.

In the worst case I could of course register (actually I
have, just in case).
But having a Dutch domain isn’t the same as having an .com domain.
I like to write in English and I like the thought that people all over the
world read my words.
Dutch domains are expected to be in Dutch. And although there are people out
side the Netherlands that can read Dutch.
They don’t visit Dutch sites.

I can only share my stories with the whole world if the American Government
is prevented from creating this kinds of laws.


Showing respect

by Henk ter Heide on Monday January 16, 2012

in Personal

I must be getting old.
The other day I found myself annoyed for not getting the kind of respect that
I’m due.
Isn’t that the age old cry of the elderly? Not being shown enough respect.

It had me wondering what respect actually is and in which circumstance I have
a right to be treated with respect. And in which circumstance I have a duty
to treat others with respect.

Listening to the way people around me talk about respect. It seems to me that
respect is a kind of reward. Awarded only to people who treat you nicely.
But that can’t be right.

Given how many reasons there are to treat people rudely.
If this was a tit for tat world where you would only treat people nice if
they treated you nice. You would never reach the situation where you could
reward any one.
Nobody would ever be nice to you.

I’m reminded of a saying we had in the Netherlands in the 60s and 70s.
“Better the world but start by bettering yourself” (verbeter de wereld, begin
met jezelf).
The reasoning being that you can’t influence how other people behave, but you
can influence your own behavior.
But in my experience that’s not true.
I can influence the way people behave by the way I treat them. If I treat
them nice they usually treat me nice.
The more respect I show people, the more respect they show me.
Which means that respect must be an investment in a future relationship.


The funny thing is that this definition explains why I feel that there used
to be so much more respect.

The young are far more whimsical, running from one relationship to the next.
They don’t feel the necessity to invest very much in those relationships.
But as we get older we get more steady in our relationships and invest more
in them.

So in my youth I dealt with a lot of people who where much older then me. My
parents, parents of friends, teachers, shopkeepers and so on. Who invested in
the relationship by virtue of showing me respect.
Nowadays most of the people I deal with are younger then me and don’t feel
the need to invest in the relationship. And of course some are older but they
feel we live in a tit for tat world and only have to show me respect if I
show them respect.

It would seem that if I feel that I don’t get the respect I’m due, I would be
best of by showing some respect.
That way I have the best changes of getting some back.


The disability paradox

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday January 14, 2012

in Personal

Don’t you hate it when disabled people use the disability card?
Drawing your pity by explaining how they can’t preform some mediocre
task because they’re disabled.
I do.
Having a disability I hate it even more when I act that way.

But things seem to have changed the last ten or fifteen years.
It used to be that when I told people that I can’t drive a car. They
felt sorry for me, because that meant having to use that nuisance called
public transport.
But nowadays I better have a good story to explain why I can’t.
Otherwise they’ll treat me as though I’m some kind of moron.

The big question here is.
How will I ever improve my working conditions if I keep pointing people
to the tasks I can’t preform. Instead of calling their attention to the
skills I excel at.