Fake Syria Video

A few days ago I saw a remarkable video from Syria of a young boy feigning injury twice to save a girl. The video got the name “Syrian hero boy” and has been seen a few million times.

It scares me that a governmentally funded institute, like the Norwegian Film Institute, could fund such a film. And just as horrible is it that they had to urged the filmmaker, Lars Klevberg, to clarify the video’s backstory. Klevberg contacted the BBC and admitted the video was not authentic, revealing the footage had been filmed in May 2014, not in Syria but in Malta. The Oslo-based filmmaker said his team wanted to draw attention to the plight of children in war-torn Syria:

If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope. We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta.

Klevberg proclaimed he and his team had no reservations about deceiving viewers of the “Syrian hero boy” video:

By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.

Producer John Einar Hagen also acknowledged the video’s creators and backers had debated the ethical implications of presenting the fictional footage as authentic to viewers:

The children surviving gunshots was supposed to send small clues that it was not real. We had long discussions with the film’s financiers about the ethics around making a film like this.

This is so horrible! Next time we see something horrible from Syria, can we then blame people for asking if the recording is real or not? My take is that the coverage from the war in Syria has often focused on the children, not only on Norwegian NRK and TV2, but also BBC. I guess that other TV channels have done the same. Journalists that have risked their own lifes for the recordings and then comes somebody living the good life, the movie makers, and make a fake movie. The least they could have done was to state that the video was not authentic in the beginning or the end of it. The Norwegian Film Institute should take another round on the ethics, when their thoughts simply were that children surviving gunshots were supposed to send small clues about the whole thing not being real… Then you haven’t understood much! You have also missed the opportunity to debate children and war, as the debate rather started on how could such a film be made in the first place!

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Google Authenticator for WordPress

I’ve enabled a new plugin on my blog to enhance the security. The Google Authenticator plugin for WordPress gives me a multifactor authentication using the Google Authenticator app for my iOS and Android devices.

I chose this way of multifactor authentication as I found it so much easier to use the CAPTCHA service, where I often struggle with seeing what is actually written and end up getting the code read up. Google Authenticator is for now only enabled for my administrator account.


You might run in to problems enabling this service. Remember that the plugin requires SHA1 & SHA256 hashing algorithms to be available in your PHP installation. It’s not possible to activate the plugin without. If you are using an blog editor app, like Blogo, you might not be able to use the app or multifactor authentication. I’ve stopped using Blogo for now, but support for Google Authenticator is on its way!

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An evening at the library

By a coincidence I saw that Deichmanske Main Library in Oslo was having an open evening for photographers. They were opening up the whole library over seven floors; basements, attics and magazines. An expedition through areas that normally are not open for the public.

It was fantastic idea, in a few years the library will move and they wanted photo enthusiasts to document the building with the books still standing on the shelves.

The main library is an unique culture building with lots of history, stairs, halls, beautiful paper books (and that comes from one only reading on a Kindle!) and, best of all, many weird architectural solutions. The library opened in 1785 after a bequest of 6,000 books and an endowment from Carl Deichman, the library now employs over 300 people and has sixteen branches throughout the city. The current neoclassical main building was designed by Nils Reiersen and dates from 1933. The new building is to be constructed at Bjørvika, with Lund Hagem Arkitekter AS winning the design competition.

It was a fantastic evening, so a great thanks to the staff at the library and I hope they do it again.


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Eldhuset – A Southern Smokehouse in Oslo

A new favourite in Oslo. Eldhuset Kristiania Skjenkestue opened in the beginning of June and I had long wanted to visit the restaurant. It is located on “Gullstripa” in Grünerløkka, Olaf Ryes plass. We booked tables for 12 people to celebrate a friend turning 40, and were all pleasantly surprised on how great tasting the food was. Appearantly the Head Chef of Eldhuset was sent to Tennessee to learn the art of smoking. It is safe to say that he has got the hang of it!

I bought a combination of three dishes called Smak av Eldhus (Taste of Smoke House), with St. Louis Ribs, Brisket of Beef and Birdie Leg, accompanied with fried potatoes and coleslaw, cooked 10-12 hours in a traditional “smokehouse manner”. I can’t remember having been at a better Southern BBQ kitchen. Even our friend living in the States went WOW!

Eldhuset combines the great kitchen with a selection of the best craft beers from Nøgne Ø, Ægir and Haandbryggeriet. As the head brewer of Haandbryggeriet joined us for the dinner, most of us went for a Fyr & Flamme. It complemented the dinner in a very good way.

The restaurant comes highly recommended and my Good Life section has been updated.


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Outlook 15 is here for OS X

Out of the blue Microsoft yesterday released a brand new version of Outlook for OS X. I simply had to try it. To be able to use it, you must link the application with your Office 365 subscription. I recently paid for a Office 365 University 4 year subscription for higher education students, faculty and staff. I was long saying that I didn’t want to rent software, but here I am with the new Outlook. Those who purchased Office for Mac 2011 as a perpetual license will have to wait months to get their hands on it. And importantly they’ll have to pay for the privilege! Outlook is not free as OneNote.

Outlook 15 for OS X seems to be a superb client for those of us that want to have mail, calendar, tasks and contacts in one app. Easy to setup and for the first time I have a calendar app that works well with the Exchange solution at work. The built in calendar app in OS X isn’t. For the first time I had no problems setting up meetings and booking rooms, things I have until now done in OWA when working on a Mac.

Another important reason for you to get your hands on Outlook 15 is that it offers a more familiar and consistent experience between Outlook on the PC, Outlook on the web and Outlook Web App (OWA) for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

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Slo-mo of pizza guy juggling the dough

I have done my very first high speed recording with iPhone 6 plus. I’m impressed! Came in to the focacceria next to where I work and saw the chef juggling. I fast pulled the phone and started recording.

What do you think?

The camera on the iPhone can record with a speed up to 240 fps, and comes large 1.5-micron pixels and ƒ/2.2 aperture. And as you can see, the inbuilt optical image stabilization works brilliantly. The flickering you see is caused by the lights in the room.

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Ello! is now a Public Benefit Corporation

Ok, I’m learning. I must admit that I haven’t heard of this kind of corporation before. In the U. S. you can organize a corporation as Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). This is said to be done to make sure that Ello always remains ad-free.

A Benefit Corporation is a new kind of for-profit company in the U. S. that exists to produce a benefit for society as a whole — not just to make money for its investors.

The Ello PBC charter states in the strongest legal terms possible that:

  • Ello shall never make money from selling ads;
  • Ello shall never make money from selling user data; and
  • In the event that Ello is ever sold, the new owners will have to comply by these terms.

In other words, Ello exists for your benefit, and will never show ads or sell user data.

Simple, beautiful, and ad-free.

There is a better way. Yes, there sure seems to be. I’m hanging around and publishing a photo now and then. But most of my friends are not there, so Ello! remains pretty much uninteresting from a social view.

And for the first time I can say that my quote might not be true:

If something appears to be free, you are the one being sold…


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Roost Web Push for Safari

Are you an OS X user, using Safari on Mavericks (10.9) or newer? I have enabled a plugin on my blog letting you get notifications when I update my site. This is a feature that I’ve missed after Google Reader reached End of Life. Feedly, Feedbin and other similar services have not gained the same attraction. Are people using RSS these days?

The Roost Web Push plugin lets you subscribe to my blog and blog posts will appear in your Notification Center in OS X. If you like what I write about, please try it out. I also automatically post my blog entries on Twitter and Google+, but I’m perhaps not reaching you on any of these channels. (more…)

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Awfully Quiet on Ello

I’ve been on Ello for about two weeks, and can basically sum it up as a disappointment. I love the simplicity of this social network. I know that is not full featured and I’ve noticed that new features are added every week. It is also ok that there still is no mobile app for Ello either for iOS or Android.

The problem is that there is “no friends” available. Invites don’t fix this problem, it causes it. We are a few friends and colleagues hanging around, none of us really active. Most of us can be described as early adopters to all kind of new services, always ready to try something new. So what is the hype surrounding Ello? Ello doesn’t bring anything new, it is just another network. I’m a hobby photographer and I see a lot of photographers posting artistic photos on Ello, but so do photographers on Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus.

Ello is summed up geniusly in this video:

Ello is free of charge, but will introduce a freemium model. You must pay to get extra functionality some time in the future. I’m honestly not sure if this will work. Do you know the service trying to compete with Twitter, App.net? Did you ever try App.net? Thought so, cause only a few of us did. Their freemium model didn’t work and having a better service then Twitter didn’t work when people sticked with the competitor.
But perhaps Ello is here to stay? After all, hipsters need their own social network!

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