Saturday, April 18, 2009


The history of scouting goes back to the turn of the 20th century, when the first seeds of scouting were sown. On a farm in Connecticut, a naturalist and author named Ernest Thompson Seton had a problem with a group of boys who kept stealing fruits from his garden. He decided to organize those boys in a group. At first, he just told them Indians stories. A few weeks later, he took them out of the village in the nature where they spent a few days living in a teepee – an Indian tent. He called them the Woodcraft Indians. All that happened in 1902.

At about the same time, in 1907, a British Army officer, Robert Baden-Powell gathered about 20 boys and took them to Brownsea Island in a sheltered bay off England's southern coast. They set up a makeshift camp that would be their home for the next 12 days.
His idea of scouting was born while he was stationed in India. He discovered that his men lacked basic first aid knowledge and also that of the elementary means of survival in the outdoors. Baden-Powell realized he needed to teach his men many frontier skills. After returning from the Boer War, Baden-Powell was amazed to find that his little handbook called Aids to Scouting had caught the interest of English boys. They were using it to play the game of scouting.

The boys had a great time at the scout camp. They divided into patrols and played games, went on hikes, and learned stalking and pioneering. They learned to cook outdoors without utensils. Scouting began on that island and would sweep the globe in a few years.

In many ways, the two organizations were similar, but they were not connected. The boys who belonged to Woodcraft Indians had never heard of Baden-Powell or of Boy Scouts, and yet both groups were destined to become Boy Scouts one day soon. The biggest difference between those two organizations was a discipline. The Woodcraft organization was more about freedom to foster and emphasize the symbiosis with nature, Scouts, on the other side, were firmly organized and had well defined methods.

Next year, Baden-Powell published his book Scouting for Boys and Scouting continued to grow. That same year, more than 10,000 Boy Scouts attended a rally held at the Crystal Palace; a mere two years later, membership in Boy Scouts had tripled.

In these days there are more than 28 million Scouts, youth and adults, boys and girls, in 160 countries.

What about Slovenia.

In Slovenia the first scout groups emerged in Celje, Ljubljana and Maribor. In 1925 an active group of scouts published the idea of establishing Woodcraft organization. The Woodcraft organization was established in Ljubljana, but in Maribor it was the most active center at that time. There are no significant differences in the working methods of the Slovene Woodcraft and scout organizations. Both organizations have been expanding throughout Slovenia. There has been considerable expansion of members and local organizations. Political views of members of Woodcraft or Scouting organizations are not important. For the scouts the only condition for consideration is the Scout law and oath.

The name tabornik (i.e. Scout) was first mentioned in 1924 in the National Journal. It referred to members of both movements. The adoption of this term subsequently led also to the new name of this organization in 1925 the “Združenje slovenskih tabornikov”.

After World War II, on the 22 April 1951, the former scouts and woodcrafts merged in a joint organization called “Združenje tabornikov Slovenije”. Later it was renamed in Scout association of Slovenia (Zveza tabornikov Slovenije- ZTS).

Because of numerous engaging and attractive activities for young people, membership has grown rapidly from the initial 783 to over 10,000 members today. The movement has expanded, and organizations have emerged also in other republics of the former Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslav scout organization was an umbrella organization linking together the branches from the different republics, including the Slovene ZTS. Savez izvidžača Jugoslavije (Scout association of Yugoslavia) was formed in 1951 on the initiative of ZTS. It never became a member of the World Organization of Scout movement because of the political situation in the previous system.
In time between 1951 and 1958 Scouts organization were founded in all republic of former Yugoslavia. After colaps of country, scout groups and association doesn’t stop to work, and now all Scout association from republic of former Yugoslavia are fully member of WOSM.

Compared to other Scouts associations in former Yugoslavia, ZTS has kept its identity, which is reflected in the Slovenian scouts' coat-of-arms, their distinctive code of behavior, units and description tags, and other peculiarities, which have varied in other scout organizations from the other republics of former Yugoslavia.

Custom manners and habits of both organizations from before of WW II are firmly rooted in ZTS. In 1989 the organization began the process of going back to the original ideas and began introducing higher common standards of organization and operation of local scout units. All these efforts payed off in 1994 when our national Scout organization ZTS became a full member of the World Scout movement - WOSM. This also meant that ZTS become a national scout organization.

Another related organization in Slovenia active since 1990 is called Slovenian Catholic Association of Girl and Boy Scouts (Združenje slovenskih katoliških skavtinj in skavtov - ZSKSS). The purpose and the Scout methods are the same as in the case of ZTS, but the forms of action and activities are slightly different. In 1996 the ZSKSS association joined the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), which brings together girls Scout organizations around the world. To pursue common interests and promote diversity, the organization decided to adopt this special arrangement.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Well, I did a presentation about hackers for my English class and seems that my class mates liked it so Saša invited me to post few lines about the topic. So, fasten the seatbelts and rock'n'roll :)

The first queston that comes in mind when speaking about hackers is: who is a hacker? Usually we think about hackers like some anti-social individuals breaking into computer systems searching for classified data. This is the image of hackers that mass-media created, because people dig stories about super-inteligent teenagers that rule the cyberspace. Nevertheless, the truth is much simpler.
Hackers are just individuals who like to explore computer systems and networks. Period. Just ordinary guys - not some gods or voodoo magicians. Even the most famous hacker (well, actually he was black hat hacker, but we'll come to that part) - Kevin Mitnick - admited that most of his targets were "low-hanging fruit". In his own words he often did it like this: telnet to server, username: guest, password: guest ... and he was in. Many of his famous break-ins were just reflection of poor security policy. And even today is not much different.

The hackers scene is deeply related with UNIX operating system, C programing language and ARPAnet. In fact, people involved in those projects are today known as pioneeer hackers. In those early years phreakers were more common than hackers mainly because at that time there were not many computer networks while phone systems were pretty evolved. Phreaker is a person who likes to explore telephone systems, basically a phone hacker.

Like every sub-culture hackers also have their unwritten laws and ethic codex. Some well know hacker's ethic rules are this:

  • all information should be free
  • access to computers should be unlimited and total
  • destroying things is easy, the hardest part is to build them
But the cornerstone of hackers culture is considered to be a short essay called "The manifest". This essay was written by a hacker named "The Mentor" shortly after his arrest in 1986. It's worth reading. "The Manifest" gives the insight view of hackers philosophy. The manifest states that hackers choose to hack because hacking is the way to learn, kind of intellectual challenge, but also because, they feel bored and frustrated about limitations of modern society.

That was once upon a time. Today we have like many flavors of hackers. Most of them fits into script kiddie category. Script kiddies are mainly teenagers that have a minimal knowledge of computers and networks but they are using publicly available hacker's tools and programs to attack the systems.
White hats (or ethical hackers) are good guys. If they found a vulnerability they will report it to developer.
Black hats (or crackers) are bad guys. If they found a vulnerability they will exploit it, sell it or publicly disclose it.
Grey hats are a hybrid between black and white hats. Sometimes they will act legal while sometime not.
Corporate hackers are hackers who are working for large corporations, searching for security holes in corporate environment and making big bucks :) Did you know that Microsoft also hires hackers? BTW, this guys are often called "Security professionals" because the term hacker is not appropriate for serious business.
If you are wondering if they are really wearing those hats? No, they don't. This is just fictional and taken from old spagetti-western movies where the bad guys are wearing black hats while the good guys are wearing white hats. And what is the color of your hat? :)

The most famous hacker is Kevin Mitnick, of course. He was black hat. He penetrated many corporate networks - supposedly searching for source code. He was 5 years on the run, then arrested by FBI (he was actually traced by a white hat hacker), spent 5 years in prison and when he got out he was not allowed to use computers or cell phones for three more years. Today he works as corporate hacker. He are some other hackers worth to mention (all white hats this time): Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman and Bill Gates.

That is. If you read it until here then you're probably interested in hackers. You may be even asking yourself: "Am I also a hacker?". Luckily for you, there is a universal solution to answer that question. If you can understand this:

ph33r u5 n0w 'c0z w3 pwn u L1k3 7h47 w17h ju57 p1ng, 7r4c3r7 4nd n375747

than you're almost certainly a script kiddie. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Argentina's talking walls

During our previous class we brainstormed what we know about Argentina for some 5 or 10 minutes and came up with the following:

Argentina's capital is Buenos Aires. The country is located in the South America, Spanish language is spoken there. People do tango and are fond of fireworks. Football is Argentinian national sport, one of the world's most famous football legends - Maradona comes from there.

Argentinian people eat huge steaks, lots of cattle is bred for meat. Argentinian beef is exported all over the world and served in many restaurants even in our part of the world. Argentina is also one of the world's biggest honey producers (also in Slovenia beekeeping is a firmly rooted tradition).

It is not uncommon for a Slovene to have relatives in Argentina or to know somebody who has - many Slovenes emigrated to Argentina before and soon after WW2. Even one of our ex prime ministers, Andrej Bajuk, is an Argentinian Slovene (has retired recently).

Evita Peron was a very popular Argentinian First Lady - the queen of people's hearts. Argentina hosted this year's rally and used to host F1 races too in Buenos Aires. There is a beautiful national park called Patagonia.

We then had a look at graffiti uploaded to the website and Flickr group:

the graffiti there are humorous, vivacious and colorful, - Caminito tango dancers, Plaza de Mayo street bustle, young Valu enjoying blissful afterlife, 'Hello Kitty' turned into 'Hello Kirchner', a complaint about not too good-looking women from somebody's neighbourhood,... Some graffiti there are also more serious, e.g. reminding people of a dark period from their past, protesting against capitalism,..

People seem to be proud of their culture, roots and heroes. (Hm, can we say the same for us, Slovenes?)

caminito, originally uploaded by jenverschoor.