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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tiananmen Square, the Internet and Freedom

Communications, Freedom, History
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 3, 2016
11:10 am

Twenty-seven years ago today, on June 3, 1989, government officials in the People’s Republic of China authorized its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square from protesting students and others seeking democratic reform. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of demonstrators and suspected dissidents.

China

During this time, a graduate student from China was working at the same company where I was employed.  I witnessed him using the Internet to exchange messages with freedom-loving compatriots all over the world.  He was somewhat frightened that the Chinese government would discover what he was doing and harm his family back in China, so he asked me to not tell others what he was doing at that time.

As I watched what he was doing, I realized what a powerful force global electronic communications could be in the support of personal freedom. I’m sure the tremendous advances in personal freedom that have occurred in China since that time are due at least in part, to interpersonal communications via the Internet.  If people can communicate, it is really difficult for governments to suppress them and deny freedom.

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Happy Birthday, Levi’s Jeans!

History
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, May 20, 2016
3:45 pm

Levi’s blue jeans have been a staple in my life for a long time.  Today I am wearing a new pair I bought last week. The Levi’s brand is quintessential Americana. In fact, complex.com dubbed Levis as the eighth most iconic brand of all time!

Today, we celebrate the birthday of Levi’s. According to History.com:

On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.

Levis

The pair of Levi’s I am wearing now don’t have classic copper rivets, but I like the comfort and fit. I suppose that wearing Levi’s is the closest I’ll ever come to being “hip.”

 

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Have Fun Today – Throw a Frisbee!

History
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, January 23, 2016
7:56 am

On this day, way back in 1957, the first patch of Frisbees were produced by Wham-O toy company! Who can imagine life without Frisbees? Have fun!

Frisbee

 

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My Awe in New Gismos

History, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
3:33 pm

Camera mini

It has been my privilege to experience astounding advances in electronics and computer technology during my lifetime.  I started poring over electronics magazines like Popular Electronics and mail order catalogs from Allied ElectronicsRadio ShackLafayette Radio Electronics, and Heathkit over 50 years ago.  I was amazed then with the neat things I saw and I am still amazed at new stuff I see in 2016!

I rarely click on the ads that appear on Facebook, but was intrigued today by this little ad. Just think of it!  A digital camera with lens, for ten bucks! And this wasn’t advertised in an obscure parts catalog – it was posted on Facebook!

I don’t know how well this gismo works. There are probably things that are even more impressive. But the convergence of digital electronics, optics, miniaturization and manufacturing techniques to produce something like this for so little money fills me with awe just like some new gismo I read about in my youth. Really cool!

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