Accomplishments of Leopold II

EU Observer, via Crooked Timber:

Louis Michel, the Belgian former EU development commissioner and current prominent Liberal MEP has shocked his home nation and its one-time central African subjects by calling King Leopold II, the Congo’s colonial master responsible for between 3 million and 10 million deaths, a “visionary hero.”

“Leopold II was a true visionary for his time, a hero,” he told P-Magazine, a local publication, in an interview on Tuesday. “And even if there were horrible events in the Congo, should we now condemn them?”



. Yes, we really, really should.

FWIW, Louis Michel is also a former Belgian foreign minister, and has been deeply involved with the Congo at a national and European level.


on that keylogger thing….seeks the showkey utility will do everything I need, with considerably less faff and higher reliability. yay!

Pioneer One

That TV series pilot we released last week? With the $6000 budget and the cast of unknowns? More popular than True Blood and Doctor Who combined.

yeah, ok, some obvious caveats apply

keyloggers on linux

I’ve been trying to find (for entirely legit reasons*) a decent keylogger for linux. The pickings are surprisingly slim – as one upstart option puts it:

Novice users, however, are usually limited to a narrow set of the following tools:


from 2005,


, which appears dead,


, made by a renowned group of hackers, and


. All these tools have their pros and cons. Lkl, for example, sometimes abnormally repeats keys and its keymap configuration is rather awkward for a range of users. Uberkey, which is just over a hundred lines of code, also often repeats keys and what is worse, it makes your mouse move abruptly, loosing any sense of control. PyKeylogger, on the other hand, while very feature rich, only works in X environment. Finally, there is vlogger, …umm…, about which I cannot say anything specifically, only that it is receiving low score all around the web and it only logs shell sessions.

I’d add that lkl managed to crash my system within 5 minutes of using it, requireing a hard reboot to get things back up. So I’m currently deep in thinking

surely it can’t be *that* hard?

  • reason: I find it useful to have statistics on my activity. Counting keypresses is pretty useless as a direct way of measuring productive work — but it’s a pretty good early indicator of when I’m getting too sleepy or too hyper.

markdown + vim

Since I’m spectacularly dim, it never occured to me that I can run markdown from


vim. Select your text, run !markdown, and wham! bam! everything is replaced by its technicolor HTML twin.


Yet another linux trick I keep on forgetting…

To display a notification on the desktop from the command-line:

# apt-get install libnotify-bin

$ notify-send “hello world”

obv. “from the command-line” really means “from a script”, unless you’re in some Evil Dead situation of independently-mobile hands

[reason for looking: trying to get xmonad+dmenu to notify me when I mistype a command, rather than just failing silently]


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Modern Arab/Arabic fiction — any recommendations? Ideally not something too downbeat or unrelentingly political, and available in translation.