Russia has won this round of the Cold War

The current argument in Ukraine and Crimea seems like the Cold War is restarting and look like Russia has the upper hand this time.

The United States has intervened in so many countries over the years (or appears to have) that there can’t be many countries where the government hasn’t been taken down by the CIA. I’m probably exaggerating a little here but there is some truth to it, I’m sure. Despite the blatant intervention by the United States in so many countries, their public message is that democracy is the way to go and the will of the people must be heard.

Russia has heard that message and understood. In Crimea, they have decided that there needs to be a referendum to decide the fate of the area. Democracy! They have also decided that the president was taken down illegally and even claimed that the US was behind a coup the helped to change the government. Democracy undermined!

Russia is bringing democracy to the people of Crimea and helping to save them from the tyranny of neo-Nazis. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a propaganda war quite like this one for a long time.

Russia have come out with some good arguments on their position, although I’m pretty sure that it is all propaganda. Their arguments don’t hold up to much scrutiny.

It’s just not possible to have a free and fair election while there are foreign troops on the streets, the two options in the referendum both say that Crimea should revert to Russian control, and the final result has almost certainly been pre-determined.

It’s looking very likely that Crimea is heading eastwards in the next few days. Hopefully Ukraine isn’t following soon afterwards.


Programmers block

I’ve been trying to keep busy at home the past few weeks by writing an iPhone app to try and learn some new skills. This has been an interesting task after years of working as a database developer because of the need to learn a whole different style of programming.

I have got a nice simple app to work on that provides some useful GPS data in a simple format. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks now. There is probably only about one more week of work before I’m finished but I’m struggling to get that week of work done.

Last week I was investigating using the computer to generate BitCoins (well DogeCoin actually). That might’ve been a good idea a few years ago but now my computer can’t process anything fast enough. I even rented an Amazon server for a couple of days at $0.15 per hour to generate coins. I’m now the proud owner of 1900 DogeCoin (worth about $2) and an Amazon server bill of $5. I am no Satoshi Nakamoto!

The week before that I was mostly just distracted and didn’t get much done at all.

I’ve learnt a few things from my time spent trying to program:
1. Finding the focus to stay motivated without a boss telling you what to do is pretty hard. I have been good quite a bit of the time but am starting pretty late in the morning and wasting quite a lot of time.
2. Without a client setting the requirements it’s pretty hard to pin down the functionality that I require. I’ve got some features added and want a couple more but I’m having trouble actually designing them. Making progress but only slow progress.
3. My skills are pretty limited and being a one-man development shop requires a wide skill base. Even just simple things like designing an icon or doing other graphic design tasks are outside my usual skill set but I need to find a way of getting them done (without paying someone).

So? Where to from here? Next week I need to make a plan, decide what progress I need to make and actually complete this application. How hard can it be?