31.10.06

Samhain


31-10-06_0926Today there is a beatiful fog rising with the sun, only spoiled by the amounts of concrete excess and carbone monoxide expelled by cars, that sometimes is more strong than the foggy air I tried to breath on my walk towards work... It is the last day of October, and the weather makes it the perfect prelude to a Samhain night full of bonfires and festivities...

This evening is also going to be the beginning of somre short vacations for me, so expect no blog posts or e-mail replies until next monday. And then, I shall be ready for Novembers Doom.

30.10.06

Copying own CDs 'should be legal'


Here's a great article from BBC News:

Man listening to music on MP3 player
It is not the music industry's job to decide consumer rights, says IPPR


A think-tank has called for outdated copyright laws to be rewritten to take account of new ways people listen to music, watch films and read books.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is calling for a "private right to copy".

It would decriminalise millions of Britons who break the law each year by copying their CDs onto music players.

Making copies of CDs and DVDs for personal use would have little impact on copyright holders, the IPPR argues.

Copyright issues have, in the past, been steered too much by the music industry, the report said.

Public respect

IPPR deputy director Dr Ian Kearns said: "When it comes to protecting the interests of copyright holders, the emphasis the music industry has put on tackling illegal distribution and not prosecuting for personal copying, is right.

"But it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have that is the job of government."

According to research from the National Consumer Council, more than half of British consumers are infringing copyright law by copying CDs onto their computers, iPods or other MP3 players.

Report author Kay Withers said: "The idea of all-rights reserved doesn't make sense for the digital era and it doesn't make sense to have a law that everyone breaks. To give the IP regime legitimacy it must command public respect."

Intellectual property laws are currently being reviewed by the government.

Chancellor Gordon Brown has asked chairman Sir Andrew Gowers to report his findings back ahead of the pre-budget report in November.

The IPPR is hoping to influence this with its report, entitled Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age.

Its key recommendation is that any policy regarding Intellectual Property policy should recognise that knowledge is a public resource first and a private asset second.

Social glue

The so-called knowledge economy is growing fast as the traditional manufacturing of goods is replaced by more intangible assets.

With it is a growing paradox in which intellectual property is both a commercial and cultural resource.

Knowledge must, therefore, perform the roles of both commodity and social glue, both private property and public domain
IPPR report

"The internet offers unprecedented opportunities to share ideas and content," the report says.

"Knowledge must, therefore, perform the roles of both commodity and social glue, both private property and public domain," it adds.

The report looks at how Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies - which restrict the sharing of music or other intellectual property - are affecting attempts to preserve electronic content.

It argues that the British Library should be given a DRM-free copy of any new digital work and that libraries should be able to take more than one copy of digital work.

Ms Withers said: "We charge the British Library as being the collective memory of the nation and increasingly it has to archive digital content.

"More and more academic journals are delivered digitally but copyright laws aren't designed to deal with digital content."

She said there was often a conflict between DRM and accessibility technologies which needs to be addressed.

"Someone with poor sight may use a screen reader technology and may have to change the format of the content to use it but some DRM technology isn't sophisticated enought to take this kind of thing into account," she said.

The report also calls for the government to reject calls from the UK music industry to extend the copyright term for sound recording beyond the current 50 years.




Now, when in UK they have IPPR - Institute for Public Policy Research to tell this obvious things out lout and try to defend UK citizens, I'm all but sorry that in Portugal what we have is SPA - Authors Portuguese Society that only try to earn more money by restricting even more Portuguese people's rights... :-(

Anyway... Way to go IPPR! You can read their full report here (PDF).

Flash text on Fedora Core 5

Hi there. This is just a little reminder, or HOWTO, or something, that might help others to fix a problem that I've had to handle myself. If you're experiencing troubles with Macromedia's Flash plugin on Fedora (Core 5 here) in a way that you can't see any fonts on Flash, you'll just have to do this:

# mkdir -p /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fs/
# ln -s /etc/X11/fs/config /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fs/config

You can blame on this to Macromedia's personel, that chose to staticly refer to the X fonts in their binary blob. It seems that the problem is solved on Flash 9, already in beta for Linux.

29.10.06

PyTalker 0.1.7 is out


PyTalker
PyTalker is a free open-source implementation of a talker environment, in the command-driven style of NUTS, and written in Object-Oriented Python.

Please read the News section to know the latest developments of PyTalker and use the Downloads section to download PyTalker's sources or binaries.

You can also take a look on our RoadMap to get an idea of what we're willing to do.
Soon we'll have more documentation available on the site.

There's a mailing list to which you may want to subscribe, at pytalker-devel at talkerspt.no-ip.org. If you want to contact the developers of PyTalker please send an e-mail to pytalker at talkerspt.no-ip.org.

Today I've released
version 0.1.7 of PyTalker is out! Try it...
As promised, this version adds SHA512 support, which basicly means that now user passwords are encrypted. Take in consideration that this version requires Python 2.5.

Merankorii


Written on saturday, offline

I woke up with my neighbours awfull music, so I standed up, still sleeping, and moved myself to one of my CD shelves and then to my laptop, so I could listen to some ThanatoSchizO. After that, Poema Arcanus, and after that Dvar, and after that Merankorii. This is one of the things I like the most on doing Merankorii: I'm creating music that sometimes it's the music I /have to/ listen. It's awsome to feel this - that I create music that has the ability to mark the listener: at least markes me as a listener, and - sorry - but that's what is more important.

BTW, ThanatoSchizO was "Melégnia", their EP under the name of Thanatos; Poema Arcanus was some of the first tracks of Arcane XIII, Dvar was some random tracks from Rakhilim, and from Merankorii a track that has yet to be released, in Merankorii's next album.

27.10.06

TecnoNov 2007

TecnoNov

As I've told you before, there's a new technological event in Portugal. TecnoNov is a meeting about technology and inovation that will happen on FNAC - Coimbra - Portugal at the 20th of January 2007, a saturday afternoon full of presentations that will end with a dinner for all participants.

For now, this presentations are confirmed (mine in bold):
  • Octávio Filipe Gonçalves {MagicBrain} - Opening / Linux: A path to produtivity
  • Pedro Simões {MagicBrain} - not defined yet
  • Marcos Marado {SonaeCom IT} - The Fonographic Industry evolution and the dangers of DRM
  • Frederico Oliveira {WeBreakStuff} - not defined yet
  • Pedro Sousa {WeSpendMoney} - WeSpendMoney demo
  • José Silva {Segula Technologies} - Speed up software development using the CakePHP framework


There are still lot's of slots available, so if you want to do a presentation or a demo, please feel free to contact the organization.

The event is free, and I hope I'll see there some of the faces that go to simmilar events, like the less-strict BarCamp or the wide-evolving SHiFT, and hopefully new ones. You can also help by spreading the word about the event!

26.10.06

Marilyn Manson covers

Undercover Songs - Podcast Episode 25 - Marado's Marilyn - Part 3
As you might know if you're a reader of Room 404 - File not Found, a blog where I write about art, I've been doing a series of podcasts for Undercover Songs: a great weekly podcast on covers.

Today has been released the third and final part of this series, about "Marilyn Manson covers". The first number I talked about the early days of Marilyn Manson and presented some less-known covers he made. In the second number I've covered the rest of his career until now, still with less-known covers he did. Finally, today's show was about covers that other bands did on Marilyn Manson songs.

You can get the shows here:


I'm not going to contribute anymore to the Undercover Songs, but I still think that you should give it a try: you'll soon find yourself a regular listener!

Now, if you want to keep track of other podcasts to whom I might contribute, you should also listen to the Contrast Podcast: a weekly show only done with the contribution of listeners, where each week a new theme is defined, and listeners/contributors have a week to fill in for the 60 minutes of the next week's show... You can find there quite a big diversity! I've contributed there some times, but I don't do it since the first of August. Well, that might be changing! ;-)

More on SPA, now on TV



Last week I've covered the most recent actions of SPA, the Portuguese Authorship Society, and criticized them for being lieing to the Portuguese public, using their exposure to get profit, even if it means make life harder to Artists and Music Lovers. But this time they didn't stay with it, and went for more. Yesterday they went to "Sociedade Civil" (Civil Society, in Portuguese), a Portuguese public television program where they are used to raise a debate about some actual social issues like Cancer, Education, Diets... I really think that the choise of the theme, discussing about authorship issues, was good, but I must criticize them not only for choosing the biased title and synopsis, but specially because they only had one side of the coin on it: they had SPA there, but not Portuguese Artists or Portuguese Art lovers!

The title was "Todos podemos ser autores" (we can all be authors), and the synopsis said "todos podemos ser autores, mas ninguém terá interesse em desenvolver essa aptidão se não for devidamente recompensado" (we can all be authors, but no one will have interest in developing that aptitude if he's not to be duly rewarded).

The only good side of all of this show, is that the show has a blog where people can comment the programs, and this is the program that raised more discussion: by now 31 comments where only ONE of them is in favor of SPA (and the arguments dismissed lately, by Yourse Trully). I seriously recommend you to read it and also leave your comment: being a blog from a TV channel maybe the comments will have the kind of exposure needed to show that there's another side to the issue!

Remember: don't hate the media, become the media!

Ain't Miss Saint

What: A play

Author: João Borges da Cunha

Stage: Sofia Borges e João Borges da Cunha

Interpretation: Sofia Borges

When: Yesterday night

Sinopsis:

Ain't Miss Saint is a solo play that I saw yesterday and really liked. It tells an episode of a dialogue between a female pupil and her female teacher, that fantasise themselves mutually, arguing in a power confront - a fight of gender and class.

A pupil argues about the rate of an exam. Standing in front of a table, the teacher's table, the teacher that rated her so badly, the teacher that she calls a master, and Júlia, the pupil protests. And tests him, the master. She doesn't tell why she's here, not before tormenting him, the master.

But behind the table there's no one. Julia is talking towards and empty chair and a table that, pulled by a rope, insists in running from her. And when the table is getting out of scene, Júlia turns into the person who she's arguing with, but it's not a Master... but She's also not Miss Saint.

They'll keep playing, so if you get a chance to see this, I recommend it.

24.10.06

Win free cards!

Hi there! Do you want some free cards? You just have to manage to translate this... I know, I know, this will be a piece of cake for Portuguese people :-P

Updating from Fedora Core 4 to Fedora Core 5


I lookeed for this on the web yesterday, and didn't find out the info I needed, so I'm posting this here in hopes that I might help somebody in a similar situation. Since today FC6 is out there, I guess that many people will be looking, like me, to update their FC4 to FC5. If, while doing it (via yum upgrade) you come across a depency that tells you that some packages can't have their dependencies unmet, and one of them is kudzu, that depends on a lower version of the kernel than the one FC5 has, then you just have to remove kudzu. If yum whines about it and tries to remove the kernel in the process, force its removal using rpm. FC5 kernel's don't use kudzu anymore, but they don't kill that dependency either. Since you have to remove kudzu, I just hope that the newer kernel boots well, since booting with the FC4 will turn out (I suspect) impossible.

23.10.06

Pod::WSDL 0.05

Pod::WSDL 0.05 is out. It has bugfixes, so upgrade is recommended. It also adds the "pretty" and "withDocumentation" arguments, that you might find useful.

For those wondering, Pod::WSDL is the best way of self-generationg WSDL files for your SOAP::Lite webservices.

Fedora Core 6 releases tomorrow

FedoraSo, Fedora Core 6 is scheduled to be release tomorrow. That also means that Fedora Core 4 will stop having support tomorrow. Which means that I've just scheduled this machine to upgrade to FC5 tomorrow :-P Why don't I use FC6? Well, because FC4 is unstable enough, FC5 is probably more and FC6 sounds like hell. What I should really do is migrate this machine to Debian, but I'm too lazy to switch.

AllofMp3 fights back

AllofMp3
Thanks to sodoff for pointing this out to me:

Mediaservices, which operates the popular and controversial allofmp3.com music site, is convinced that its business model is legitimate and that it maximizes demand for music and spurs consumers to buy more music. The company believes that everyone wins, record labels, artists and distribution companies when the market is broader and deeper. Relying on a handful of artists for the majority of sales is an outdated. One October 17th they held an on-line Press conference to address issues related to on-line music distribution and erroneous piracy characterization by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Although the RIAA and IFPI, their international equivalent, have tried to portray music purchases from allofmp3.com by U.S. and Western consumers as illegal (in order to dampen demand) there is no creditable evidence fort this (see Background, below) [There are widespread rumors that there are Interpol warrants for the arrest of Mediaservices executives.]
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/13/309-10132006.html

A transcript of the press conference.

http://www.musictowers.com/features/ViewArticle1813.aspx

Of note is the substantial alleged penetration of allofmp3 into U.K. on-line music sales. Although it may be risky to extrapolate, I estimate that allofmp3's U.S. music sales are easily several times that U.K. and may be up to 5% of U.S. on-line music sales.

BACKGROUND
Since November 2003 the web music merchant www.allofmp3.com, operated by the Russian company Media Services, has been openly selling some of the most popular western music at a fraction of the cost of widely touted American sites, such as Apple's hugely successful iTunes, Rhapsody, MusicMatch, Napster, Sony Connect. Clients can select from a wide variety of encoding options (e.g., AAC, MP3, OGG, WMA 9 Lossless, Monkey's Audio, OptimFROG and FLAC) starting at rates of 128kbps all the way to full CD (.wav files). Unlike its major competitors Allofmp3 sells the tracks by the megabyte. Beginning in January rates were doubled to USD 0.02/ MB. Instead of paying USD 1.00 per track AllofMP3 users pay less than USD 0.10 and less the USD 2.00 per album. Currently the site boasts almost 30,000 albums from all genre and it all appears legal for the moment.
The legal skinny
How does ALLofMP3 prevent being shut down? They do it the old fashion way: legally. There is a loophole in the Russian copyright legislation that makes services like Allofmp3 possible. Apparently this loophole cannot be closed easily. Allofmp3 has signed agreements for this with Russian Organization for Multimedia & Digital Systems (www.roms.ru). According to their license allofmp3, has the right to use musical compositions by providing downloads. Under the license agreement Allofmp3 pays out fees to ROMS for downloaded materials that are subject to the Russian Federation Copyright And Related Rights Law. ROMS is a member of CISAC (www.cisac.org) - the International confederation of authors and composers societies. ROMS manages intellectual rights in the Russian Federation. All third party distributors licensed by ROMS are required to pay a portion of the revenue to the ROMS. ROMS in turn, is obligated to pay most of that money (aside from small portion it needs for operating expenses) to artists. Both Russian and foreign. This license is only supposed to allow content to be sold to Russians. The site doesn't appear to do non-Russian advertising and promotion, though they do have an English version of the site available (they say its to address problems with Russian language- encoding standards which existed they launched but that many Russian nationals living outside of the country prefer to use the English version for browsing). They claim its a site created for Russians but those who come to their site from abroad are welcome and are provided with full service. Sales to non-Russians are said to be 'insignificant' but I rather think its because their management has wisely chosen a Russian processor www.cyberplat.com that does not offer AllofMP3 direct access the information from user credit cards. They get only notifications about successful transactions. Plausible deniability is as smart in business as politics. The Music Industry claims that Allofmp3 is illegal but their own lawyers tell them "... the music industry doesn't have much chance in succeeding (if they attack these companies who are using music files on the Internet under current Russian laws)." Instead they are pushing for changes in Russian copyright law but progress is glacial. Chances that the loophole will be closed on short term are low and there is great resistance to changes. As for the legality of non-Russian clients downloading from allofmp3 this is country dependent. In countries with liberal copyright protections, like the Netherlands, downloading is legal. In countries with stricter copyright protections its less clear. MP3's, OGG's, etc are not illegal in the USA and therefore can be imported. There is also no law against importing music from other countries (including Russia). Because you are buying this legally in Russia and then importing to the USA, this should be 100% legit. The only applicable U.S. law appears to relate to the "Infringing importation of copies or phonorecords". But even this statute "...does not apply to importation, for the private use of the importer and not for distribution..." If MP3's, OGG's etc are in fact considered phonorecords, U.S. citizens can legally buy these as long if they are for private use and not for distribution. If MP3s, OGG's etc. are not considered phonorecords, no import laws apply. The sections of digital audio recording and sound recording have no mention of importation. Bottom line: Downloading from Allofmp3 is legal for U.S. Citizens, as long as the files are for private use and not for distribution. More details of the legality can be found here.

Subcultures in Portugal


Graveyard Sessions X
I allways was an observer on serveral peculiar, almost deviant things, like subcultures. Belonging to some subcultures myself, I had the idea that, in general, the world of subcultures in Portugal is bad, and is getting worse as time passes. You have several examples of that: the pagan subculture, for example, is almost non-existent in Portugal, except for some events made by the Portuguese division of the PFI (Pagan Federation International) or the pointless meetings of Portugal Mágicko, and even OPW and OEW (the Pagan Order in Portugal and Spain) are pondering on merging as an one only Iberic Wiccan Order. As an observer, I also was alert, yet critic, to the fetishist subculture in Portugal: it seems that for long, and after several subgroups merging together in one IRC community, the major event in the fetishist and BDSM subcultures in Portugal is "The Gathering", and all that might exist prior or post the event remains uncertain and certainly close. Another example of a subculture is the Gothic one - and that in Portugal completely shocks me, since, while there are some Portuguese Gothics, there is no subculture present: instead of that we have the Go-Go movement. If some gatherings were made some years ago, it's exponent and yet its destruction was made with a single interview on a Portuguese TV channel (do I need to say more?) and poof - it's dead. I've just came from "The Graveyard Sessions", a so-called Gothic Party in Lisbon and certainly a Go-Go party: you have no traces of Gothic roots there, except maybe for one track badly jockeyed from The Cure (the eighties cure, it seems that in Portuguese subcultures we aren't in the XXI century yet) and that showed me what I feared the most: Go-Go parties in Lisbon nowadays are the same as in everywhere else in Portugal - a complete and total waste. Sure, we still have good iniciatives. Earlier this year we had the first "Dominium", a new subcultures-centred magazine that had its first issue on BDSM, and that will have their second number around Gothicism. And I knew today, there on the Go-Go party (oh, excuse me, the "Graveyard Sessions X" :-P ), that there's a new Gathering Party comming already in November, which at least shows they're managing to keep up the pace of such meetings (once every six months). But will the Portuguese mind and attitudes will ever be open enough to welcome and embrace subcultures? And I'm not aiming this to the average Portuguese - no - this is specially for the members of those so-called subcultures! When will we do, in Portugal, something serious about divergent lifestyles?

Post Scriptum: Three notes are to be made. First of all, yes, I know that I said at least two things here that weren't supposed to be made public (if there are more I didn't even notice those other ones). Have something against? Sue me. The second of all, please don't consider this a harsh destructive critic. I know that some people will read this and be pissed off, but you shouldn't. Acknoledging problems is the first step to fix them. If you think that, for instance, I'm criticizing Dominium, don't be: I wish the best for that magazine and I really hope that it gets better and better, more and more read. I would even consider to contribute with it if for any reason I was the right person to do it. I'm just disappointed with the fact that we keep ourselves with contentment with pseudo-subcultures instead of doing the real thing. To finish, I just have to say that this post isn't about Paganism, Fetishism, BDSM, Bondage and Gothics. This is about every subculture I know of and their "presence" (or not even that) in Portugal. Yes, that includes the Metal-heads subculture, but that one isn't focused here since it deserves a single article just for that.

20.10.06

PyTalker v0.1.6


PyTalker
Just to give an heads up to those who might be interested: two days ago I released a new version of PyTalker: 0.1.6. For those who do not know, PyTalker is a free open-source implementation of a talker environment, in the command-driven style of NUTS, and written in Object-Oriented Python.
This version was only about sanatization of some code, and adds nothing new. It was made so the ground base to 0.1.7 is ready. 0.1.7 is going to add SHA-2 encryption, and it is going to be doin the right way. That also means that it will use hashlib, or, in other words, it will only work with Python 2.5 or up.

Who said a talker base was "old stuff" and didn't have big dependences? ;-)

19.10.06

SPA, GDA and AFP: STOP KILLING ART!!!


SPA
This irated post is about the most recent claims in Portugal about Music. The Authors Portuguese Society (SPA) is doing a mass campaign, again, against the people who refuse to paying them to make or "consume" art (the idea of consuming art being by itself ridiculous). This time, the news is "Creators and Producers of Music start another wave of actions against Illegal FileSharing". This is the number one mistake: the news should be "The society that aims to represent creators and producers of music, that, to be able to legally sell their art are forced to be members of that society, start another wave of actions[...]".

Then they start the real madness: "filling lawsuits against Portuguese users of music file-sharing services". What the hell? There's nothing in the Portuguese law (and I'm glad) that it's illegal to use music file sharing services: as a matter of fact it's completely legal (and I ask you to please do it) not only to use them, but to use them to download music: for instance, if you want to LEGALLY and FREELY download Merankorii's (my musical project) latest album, you can do it using the file-sharing service: it's network has the album there and I know because I was the one inserting it there. So, why is SPA impuningly LIEING and telling that downloading music files is illegal? It can be, but it can also be legal.

Then, they do a lot of completely nonsense claims, from which I chose some to comment, like "In the United Kingdom, six in every ten people that try to reduce or stop sharing files, tell that they do it because they're afraid of computer virus." What? Are you telling me again that filesharing is illegal? Or that there's a risk associating filesharing and virus? Yes, because, just to make it plain and clear, the risk of virus is not on the "sharing", in on the download: and you download data you don't control every time you're downloading your e-mail or going to a website!

But there's more: "A set of court decisions all over the world recognized the responsability of the operators of this services for getting their users an easy wat of promotion or benefict from illegal filesharing - rejecting the thesis that tells that filesharing is inocent, legal and without victims". Now, this is one is serious. First of all, give me the data on that, because I just don't believe in those statements. I feel like being preety well informed on those issues, and, while I know about a set of cases that tried to state filesharing as illegal, none of them went forward since the stances are plain stupid. Let me check: you're putting responsability on the makers of file-sharing systems because that can be used for promoting illegal activities, right? The same way you put responsabillity on car makers because cars make victims, or to knife producers because knifes can be used to do illegal stuff? FileSharing _IS_ innocent. When you post your stupid news on your ugly website you're putting a file on the internet (HTML file in this case) so that users like me can go there and download that HTML file (for viewing, printing, whatever). So you're filesharing! Is it illegal? Well, the only thing possibly illegal I can see in this is that you're plainly feeding your readers with lies!

Then, you use some wise words and turn them into lies (once again): you start by telling that "there are several ways of getting legal music nowadays" and "some people still consume music illegaly", which is true, but then... "so, we keep on [...] campaign to show that sharing music files that are protected by authorship rights have efective legal risks". Boy, oh boy. Aren't those "several ways of getting legal music" you were refering to means to "share music files that are protected by authorship rights"? Yes, 'cause there's nothing ilegal in going here and download this protected by authorship rights files, there are no legal risks, and the authors even thank you if you do so!

Sigh... No, it's not finished yet. They also say they're aiming to "non-authorized P2P services". What the fuck is an (un)authorized P2P service? If I do a P2P service I need to request an authorization? I don't think so, STOP LIEING.

"In Portugal recorded music author rights suffered a reduction of 43% in the last four years, fundamently because of illegal downloads." Stop it. The righs didn't suffered - they're the same. Now, what you can tell is that YOUR SOCIETY suffered from a decrease of 43% in it's income. I can attribute that to lot's of factors: we have less Portuguese record labels now, we have less artists betting in the Portuguese market, the major Portuguese music is being sold by foreign labels, people are buying less Portuguese music and more and more artists are SICK of SPA and look for alternatives so they don't have to give you money (like Yourse Trully). Oh, and yes, there's also illegal downloads, that studies say that are raising people's interest in music as art. So, unless you show figures PROOVING that your losses "fundamentaly because of illegal downloads" I won't bite, and nor should anyone else.

"Portuguese music retailers have less 44,39% profit in seven years". Sure, easilly explainable. I buy lot's of music (and I mean LOT'S) and almost none goes to Portuguese companies. The last times it was, they weren't retailers. As a matter of fact, I think that I don't pay to a Portuguese music retailer in more than an year. In other words: I started to legaly buy a lot of more music and stopped giving money to Portuguese retailers by doing so. Why? Not that it interests for the matter (being it that you cannot correlate that loss with illegal file sharing) but here are some points: There are less Portuguese retailers now; they are more expensive than the alternatives; they have less choice; they don't manage to get the same stuff I can order to foreign retailers; they take too long to get the music I want (usually I can get it faster through international or foreign retailers).

"The major labels have now half they employees they have in 1998." Interesting choice of years: 1998, when there was the massification of the Compact Disc? Remember that mass file sharing came later, but still: which major labels? Sony Music? Is now higher that it was by then. But let me tell you something about those "major labels": the world music market is the global market for the commercial trade of music, and the licensing of the use of music. As of 2006, the recording market is dominated by the "Big Four record labels": Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group, and Warner Music Group, and the "Big Five music publishers". The four record labels control around 80% of the world recorded music sales market and around 85% of the United States record sales market, demonstrating the concept of oligopoly within the music industry. On 13 July the European Court of First Instance annulled the European Commission's clearance decision of the merger of Sony Music and BMG. Therefore, the European Commission will have to re-examine the merger. So, if people are starting to be more educated musicly (which I doubt but hope), yes, they'll start consuming "music as art" and stop consuming "music as a product". That will invariably mean that the big five have to rethink their position in the music market, or keep with it's oligopoly and die with it. We, people, aren't fighting (consiously or not) against music, musicians and art, we're fighting against that shit you put up for us to eat, that you call music but it's nothing more than a product without artistic value. So yes, I hope that the major labels will in 2008 have their happy 75% of market share, and hope for a nice 25% in ten more years. Still, you fail to show the figures and leave us with statements, and those statements don't even give us inference of anything: you've failed to make a point correlating file sharing and employees reduction. Ever thought that reducing employers you're reducing costs, and that was the reason behind it?

"There are two Portuguese websites that sell digital songs for less than the price of a bus ticket." Nice, I like alternatives. Too bad one of them won't open on my browser and the other one... what other one? I don't know what it is, so I lost 15 minutes searching the web for it and I still don't find it. [UPDATE: One hour later I found it. They sell .wma files with DRM, so they won't play on my computer. Thanks, but I'll keep buying non-defective audio.] So, I'll keep considering buying in foreign stores.

"The actual crisis has has major victims all the music creators, authors, musicians and producers, and, between them, those who dedicate themselves to the Portuguese music are who suffer the most." Damn you. I can see lot's of bad things in the music market nowadays, but file sharing technologies aren't givving a crise to the music market. Even so, No music creator, author, musician or producer is harmed with file sharing. And I know this, since I'm a creator, an author, a musician and producer. On the other hand, SPA harms Portuguese creators, authors, musicians and producers, since no piece of art can be properly manufactured in Portugal (nor created, authored or produced) before having to pay riots of money to you. Thanks but no, thanks. Those who dedicate themselves to the Portuguese music aren't those who extort money from artists and music lovers, but those who give their time and life and love for music, many times for free, to help the music media. One great example of that is the recently released free Portuguese compilation that aims to show what's being made in Portugal. Nobody made money out of this, no ilegal stuff was made, we (music lovers) win with this kind of inniciatives but you hate them since you're not earning any money with it. Tough for you!

When will you people stop harming Art? Do you really want to kill music?

17.10.06

You use nvidia drivers? You're 0wn'ed!


Nvidia
Thanks to Uwe, I have this hilarious news to you:

The NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux is vulnerable to a buffer overflow that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code as root. This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely (via a remote X client or an X client which visits a malicious web page). A working proof-of-concept root exploit is included with the advisory. The only possible solution (as NVIDIA still hasn't fixed the issue, although they know about it since 2004): Disable the binary blob driver and use the open-source "nv" driver that is included by default with X.

So, will you still whine when I tell you NOT to use the Nvidia propriatary closed-source buggy clumsy and awfull drivers?

16.10.06

Still on FireFox and IceWeasel


Note: this blog post is being written offline, so it completely lacks links. Sorry...

Revisiting the issue of Mozilla Corporation's trademark and licensing issues, that made GNU fork their software making completely-free alternatives aiming to be adopted by some Linux distro's, and on the fact that Debian is going to use it... It seems that the last few days some nasty comemnts were being made by several parts, namedly by Mozilla and Debian folks, but the thing that must be taken in consideration is that, taking out a few exceptions, this core points are taken as granted:

  • Mozilla Foundation ponder on their objectives, and they believe that they have to enforce this policies to reach them;

  • Most of GNU/Linux distro's ship now Firefox as the 'by default' browser. Yet, to keep shiping Firefox they have to change their packaging policies;

  • While most distro's want to keep shipping Firefox, they can only do it by creating packaging policy exceptions, thus:

  • A distro have to chose between shiping Mozilla's software by having "special policies" for those packages, or to choose alternative software to package;

  • Both GNU, Mozilla and Debian communities are OK with any distro's choice, whether it is ship Firefox or an alternative like IceWeasel;

  • All my posts that refer to Firefox are wrong: it seems that the real name is FireFox :-P;

  • Mozilla Foundation has no problems with IceWeasel, as a matter of fact Mozilla Fondation Europe supports the idea. Yet,

  • The Mozilla Foundation has their feeling kind of hurt with IceWeasel not being a distro fork but a GNU fork (I'll talk about this after this items).

  • For a distro, like Debian, that chooses not to ship FireFox, several things can be done (I'll explain further).



Now, my personal judgement on this is that the best thing a distro can do is stop shipping FireFox, thus not letting upstream affect their policies and overal package quality. Accepting the instances needed to keep shiping Mozilla's products can doom the overall packaging system and thus the quality of the distribution itself.

Those wanting to still use Firefox, say, in Debian, can do the same that they would do in a non-package-driven Operating System like Windows or Mac OS: go to FireFox's website and download it there. Those who are used to use the brilliant package system and learned to love them will easilly rather use another browser than do that.

Mozilla folks don't really like IceWeasel being from GNU because that hurt their feelings: it's a statement that Mozilla's products are not free software. While that is true, stating that in your face is a strong position and it is understandable that it hurts their feelings. Yet, each company/foundation can take their positions and live with it. If Opera isn't free software and still has a market, the same can happen to FireFox. Mozilla's just shifting paradigms, and the market is reacting to that. Tough.

For a distro, like Debian, that chooses not to ship FireFox, there are several things that can be made, and setting IceWeasel as the default browser probably isn't the best choice. For instance, Debian ships Gnome by default, and Gnome uses Epiphany as the default web browser. In the same way, KDE has Konqueror as the default browser. If a user wants to use another browser, they just have to do what I already have (since I don't use FireFox but SeaMonkey): apt-get install browser-of-choice. If a distro does not like Epiphany and/or Konqueror (and I'm not going to blame them), IceWeasel is an alternative but not the only one. There are plenty of browsers out there. But if you want a FireFox-like browser, I would support the use of an IceWeasel 1.0 (which still needs to appear), but only until Flock becomes 1.0. Flock is a Firefox-based browser that supports everything that FireFox does and more. Furthermore, Flock's license won't restrict distro's as FireFox does (but that can be made sure by simply talk to Flock's developers and ask it). Betting on the development of IceWeasel may be good on the short term, but I have doubts on if it is the thing to do in the long term. I mean: doing the effort of making IceWeasel 1.0 is fully supported by me, but after that, and shipping IceWeasel, the efforts around it can be applied to help the already big Flock team to stabilize (which according to them doesn't take much, they're already heading for an 1.0 release). I was quite surprised to see that there's no Flock package in Debian, not even in experimental. I understand that Flock is still in a beta stage, but so there is a lot of other software. If the "dropping FireFox" resolution is made only for Etch (and if Mozilla Foundation let's us do it), then... Etch is aimed to be released at December 2006, Flock 1.0 in Q4 2006. Why not putting an effort of packaging Flock and replace FireFox with Flock instead of IceWeasel and such?

Yet Another Portuguese Conference


Note: this blog post was written offline, so it completely lacks links. I'm sorry for that...

Wow! 2006 has been a great technologic year for Portugal, IMHO: not only we're seeing some improovements on Portuguese companies and foreign companies doing some investiments here, but we're seeing inovation signs: and one example of that is the number of conference-like events we got in 2006: The 10th EGTI had some talking on Emergent Technologies, for the first time we had a BarCamp in Portugal, a new international conference made in Portugal, SHiFT, was born, we had a Games conference and at this moment a conference on Blogs is happening. But this is not all: I've just got a phone call telling me that yet another Portuguese event will appear, and arrangements are being made for January 2007. It still has no name, only a location and a scope. The event is going to be held on FNAC - Coimbra - Portugal, is going to be spoken in Portuguese, and is aiming at the social aspects of technology, Open Source and freedom. I've been asked (and already accepted) to do a presentation about "The Music Industry evolution and the dangers of DRM". The event will be totally free: you're free to go and attend for free, you're free to go and do a presentation or a live demo of a product, but you'll have to go for free (meaning you're not going to be paid in any way), and, as a matter of fact, I'm just posting this as a "Call For Presentations/Demos". I'm going to talk to several people and invite them to participate, but the invitation is general: if you would like to give a presentation or do a demo, just e-mail me. Just remember that this aims to be something "social": don't get too technical since many of those who're going to attend aren't into the technological world.

11.10.06

The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e

LaTeXThe Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e is a freely available online GPL'd book and a big reference among the reference books on LaTeX. It's first version was written in 1995, and the first Portuguese version "Uma não tão pequena introdução ao LaTeX", was written in 2001. This year the Portuguese book saw a printed edition (the black book at the photo) which is being sold for 3€ (to pay the expenses), and - such a good book at such a low price - I got one today (yes, that picture is of my copy, the book behing it is the proceedings of YAPC::EU::2005, that I also got today).

Now, I've already read the english version a couple of times, but having this on paper is sweet, and I took a look at it (I count on reading it all, of course), but I've found some issues in several places and reported them, which lead to... a contribution from me! So, if another issue of this book comes to be printed*, my name will bne on it! ;-)

Not this is the first or the second Portuguese article/paper/book about LaTeX that has my name on it...
* a second, updated, edition on paper now exists, here.

10.10.06

Second Life on Linux (part II)

me on second lifeThree months after my first and frustrated attempt to run Second Life on Linux, and because I read this post talking about the Linux client I've decided to give it another try, since, despite still being an alpha version, now it is 1.12.* and the version I've tried was an 1.11.*. Well, the good news is that it works, out of the box, and I had almost no trouble on running it until getting into the game. But then.. .This is a graphic hell, slowness stops you from being able of making smooth movements (or going from here to there but not elsewhere) and useful social stuff is missing like the other users names: the box where they should be written is there, but the name almost never is. So it means that I really hadn't the chance to tweak my character's avatar and stuff like that. Anyway, here's a screenshot (you can't guess how much time I spent to get such awsome screenshot!).

Copying files with colons using scp or rsync


OpenSSH
Seems that there's a lot of people out there that do not know how to copy a file with a colon in it's name (for example a:a.txt) using scp or rsync, so here's an explanation:

The trick is to know where you're using the : character. If it's a remote file there's no problem and no need of escaping since you preceded already by an :. Example:

scp me@my.machine.com:a:a.txt .

If it's a local file you just have to say it explicitly by expressing a path. Example:

scp ./a:a.txt me@my.machine.com:

This works for me at least on OpenSSH 4.3.

My CV is now hResume


microformatsFinaly I did something I was thinking to do for a long while: at least since I went to XTech'06, although loosing my CV's source was the final push: I finaly updated my Curriculum Vitae so it is made using hresume: a microformat for publishing resumes and CVs. hResume is one of several open microformat standards suitable for embedding in (X)HTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML.

If you want an update on the latest hResume stuff read this.

IceLizard


IceWeaselWhile IE users (yes, it seems that there are people that still use that crap) are slightly pissed off because IE 7 won't be released today after all (but it will be this month), GNU folks are working on the IceLizard: as you might know with so much talking lately Mozilla's software isn't that free (yup, free also includes "free to change and redistribute without having to submit patches that will hardly be reviewed to already upstream unsupported versions of the software") and so real free forks are comming over.

We'll have: IceWeasel to replace Firefox, IceDove to replace Thunderbird and IceApe to replace SeaMonkey. I can't wait to have an IceApe installation, but I really see IceWeasel to be easilly replaced by Flock as soon as a stable version of it comes out... They seem to be wiser than Mozilla Foundation on the demands and be able to be compliant with things like the DSFG.

Google aquires YouTube


Google YouTube
Finally, Google aquired YouTube. While no one tells that the deal wasn't attractive to YouTube (of course it was!), it seems that people all over the blogosphere are surprised with this move by Google, considering it bad for them. No, this deal can't possibly be bad for Google, and even if it will be bad for YouTube's users (which I don't doubt), it will take more time this way than if YouTube kept unbought (not that the comparison matters, since Yahoo! was also trying to buy YouTube). I mean, why are you all worried about Google's relations with Fox (MySpace owners) when the real Google competitors nowadays are Yahoo! and Microsoft? Suddenly, in the video content race, Google is now ahead, with 46% more market share.

9.10.06

Weekend in Coimbra


Warning: This post was written during the weekend and without an Internet connection, so it completely lacks of links.

Saturday


Since Wednesday was my mom's birthday and Thursday was a Portuguese holliday, I took vacations on Friday so I could come to Coimbra, where my mom is living mostly all the time, and spend an extended weekend with her. Of course that since I myself lived in Coimbra for years, I had to get in touch with some folks and had some things on my own agenda. One of those - keep spreading the Anti-DRM word. I have some pictures I've taken: some are already on Flickr and some will soon be. But today is the day I aimed to be the one when I'll reduce the number of stickers left to zero. So, I talked with two guys and we'll go before dinner time to FNAC and try to sticker all defective (with DRM) DVD's, CD's and hardware. But, until then, I'm walking in the city finding other places where to put these stickers on. Since there are only "this product is defective by design" stickers left, I only managed to see a Sony store yet, and - while I wasn't able to put a sticker in any of their products, I didn't left until their logo on the store window had one of those stickers. But this also made me visit for the third time in a seven years span the first shopping mall this city had. Knowing the "evolution" of this kind of things, I thought that the mall would be completely empty. While I'm not fond of shopping centers (and unfortunately I spend more time in them than I would like to), this old-fashion kind of shopping malls have a quite attractive feeling. But history tells that the old shoppings die when the new ones arrive, and Coimbra had three new shopping centers in three years, which made the two biggest ones before them suffer a lot - lot's of stores closed, their prices falling, the only alternative movie theatre in Coimbra is now gone (I'm happy, tho, to see that the Academic Theatre is havving a harder bet in alternative movies - I've seen yesterday and the day before two spanish alternative movies there, "7 Virgenes" and "Obaba", both recommended), independent music stores are closing... But the oldest of all still survives. Of course, it only has two coffee shops, one computer store, one chinese "we sell everything" shop, one fantastic bookstore (I never realized that store existence while living here!) and the rest is all clothes, fashion, clothes and clothes store. Maybe it has something to be with the fact that this part of the city is full of Jet7-wannabe's, but it really surprised me to see that there's here where the biggest concentration of clothes' stores in Coimbra are, that I know of! Way to go - it's really nice to see that there are people who are smart enough to survive with their non-franshised businesses, and these stores actually have a sense of fashion, not looking "old-skool" like the shopping mall feels like... I'm now preety sure that this shopping mall will survive more than those two others in the long term. And now - time to keep going and try to find other places where my Anti-DRM stickers can find a home...

A couple of hours later...


One of the biggest problems I've found when trying to do some Anti-DRM activism in Lisbon was the fact that I don't really know a lot of people who would be interested in this kinds of issues there, and doing this alone isn't bad if you know people and places, but I don't really know independent (music/movies/tech) stores in Lisbon, so my action was limmited a lot by that. I thought that problem would be gone here in Coimbra - but the reverse happened: I'm way too involved here to be effective as I wanted to. There's a couple of independent music stores I know preety well here in Coimbra, so my next step was going there. The problem is that my relationship with both owners is far from good. I don't even want to explain extensively why, but let's just say that one of those stopped suplying me because it's owner has an attitude problem, and today was the day I went there to see him live, with his new store. Wow - he has a three-times-bigger store (surprisingly, since he was allways whiling about people ripping off CD's and sharing mp3's instead of buying CD's, and that the business was so bad that he was pondering on closing). Yes, that's right - one year after, he not only has another store in another city, but this store has been expanded. He also had a lot of mainstream music, including some defective discs, but as soon as my face crossed his sight I noticed the change on his face and realised that entering in the store would only make us both pissed off for nothing - since I don't want nothing from his store but from him (to put some stickers on DRM'd products), and since he wouldn't do anything for me (except maybe sell me one CD if he had it on the store, for twice the price and after spitting on it). So I just walked down the street, feeling somewhat frustrated and aiming to the second one. In the path there was a big Sony store, and, to turn a long story short, I didn't managed to have any of their products tagged as defective, but one of their outdoor logo's is now fully tagged (I have pictures of there) and I only moved on when some guy was yelling he would call the cops (I wonder why...). I did it in a way that there's still hope that the stickers will survive more than a week where they are, but I'm not sure of it. Finaly, I headed to the second record store, and, for my surprise, I actually became friends with the owner - one guy I had some issues with some years ago, when we where more like kids and he didn't have a music store. He was greatly receptive, and while he didn't distributed major labels, he wanted to have some stickers to talk his custumers about why DRM is restrictive and putting his business into danger (notice - he only sells underground music), and to stick them on into discs before returning them if it happens for him to get some of those defective discs arrive to his store aiming at the shelves. Way to go! I've also tried my luck on a DJ'ing store, that heavilly sells Sony hardware, but they kindly sent me to fuck off. Now, I still have 16 stickers left, and I wonder if I'll manage to reduce this number before going to FNAC, where it will be the most challenging action of the day...
BTW, that shopping center that had independent cinema and has no more... After being without the movie theatre it started decaying, some of its stores closed and others are getting major problems, like the coffee shop where I'm typing this, that used to sell lots of stuff to those people going to the movies and that now is almost allways empty, the owner says...
Now - let's look after more defective products that are without stickers...

5 A.M. - Saturday to Sunday


I'm quite shaken at this time, so I'll be real quick describing what happened to me in the rest of the day instead of describing my thoughts on it, which I intended too. You'll soon see why I'm shaken and understand why I'm being so brief. Good news are that I've managed to be now without anti-DRM stickers, which means that by now some products with DRM are properly labeled. After dinner I went to a medieval fair in S. Mamede (near Coimbra) and it was way too cool. I was intending on blogging about it since I've saw a great concert, a Shakespere piece (which sucked since you almost couldn't hear the actors voices) and a great spirit among those who were there, many of them with medieval clothes and such - preety nice. But the biggest thing there is that I saw there an example of true happiness - such a great state of happiness that made me feel real joy (not that "instant joy" but a feeling of joy that longed, real joy in being there) because it made me see that fortunately there are people who can be happy - live happily in their lives instead of living a "normal life" with its moments of happiness. No - when you see a real happy person, the kind of happiness you're used to see in a kid but in a grownup, you can't but feel some joy, seeing that after all the world is right, at least for some. A smile can make you smile, and that's what happened to me - that was the memory I though I would have of this weekend for the future years. For years I did not see anyone whose normal state was one of happiness, but after all there's still people out there like that, and, even not knowing them, knowing that they exists is preety enlightning. Unfortunately all of that is blurred now. My night is ending this late, and I'm so shaken, because when I returned to Coimbra I was present in a crime scene, and screams, broken glass, knifes and blood isn't really the kind of stuff I would want to live upon, but all that was added by the frustration that I was the first to call 112 (the Portguese 911) and still the cops arrived too late and did what they are supposed to: a REALLY BAD FUCKING JOB. I'm sad, I'm tired, I'm frustrated and I'm stressed. But tomorrow I'll be back to Lisbon and soon my life returns to "normal". Too bad I can't take a good memory of this interlude anymore.

Sunday


Now on the train back to Lisbon, I've been reading the news for the past few days, and I had quite a lot of time to do that since (as it starts to be usual) the train died (power outage) for several minutes. Well, at least this time I didn't have to change trains, it was just a question of waiting...
Despite what I wrote yesterday, I really think that this weekend (that started as being something like an obligation since it was my mom's birthday) was good to me. I had a lot of reflextion time, and, while I tend to mess my life a lot so it's actually messy right now, I think that I just have to ignore what a mess it is and start freshly, solving the problems as they start to fly towards the fan.

All Of Mp3


For those who don't know, Allofmp3 is a Russian website that sells legal digital music tracks (mp3's, wav, ogg, flac, whatever you want, in the quality you want) without any kind of Digital Restrictions Management software (DRM), and that is sold by size (I don't really recall now, but I think that the most attractive plan for me was paying a certain amount for 100 Megabytes) which ends being really really cheaper than buying those DRM's tracks from iTunes store and other services alike. That service was being awsome to three (make it four) parts: Artists, that had one more store selling their songs but giving more money to them than the alternatives, listeners (that could find cheap, cool, unrestricted and legal music easily) and AllOfMp3 themselves, since they have a kick-ass service that can't be beaten since they give products with more quality and cheaper. They never even needed to spend money on publicity: blog posts like these are all over the world and they do publicity themselves. The fourth part isn't really someone envolved in the business, but profits with it: Russia as a country. Since AllOfMp3 are exporting products, there's a lot of money entering in the country (and paying taxes), so for them AllOfMp3 is one more successful company that is doing well for Russia's economy: great. Or at least is WAS like that. Was? Yup - if you look at the picture I've just described you'll see that, while this is good for everyone, this new business model in the music market has AllOfMp3 as intermediary: and NOT the "Record Industry" (organizations like RIAA in America or SPA in Portugal, and major labels like EMI and Sony). And they couldn't miss this - there's here a chance of making money and they were not doing it! So, as it is being usual in thwe past years actions of this kind of arrogant corporations (arrogant enough to not realise that they aren't a market, just players, albeit big, in it), instead of they noticing that, even if virtually every CD ever produced is free to download illegaly in P2P networks and stuff like that, people will buy those products legally if the offer is attractive (read: if you can have the file playing wherever you want, you don't have to sell a kidney to buy it, and it's easily available) and thus entering that new market nieche, they're juwst trying to kill it, using their unethical positions of power. So, this guys tried and tried and pressed enough the Russian governement to change their laws in a way that their adversary AllOfMp3 business moves from legal to ilegal. Now, WTF is this? You have some company profiting in a market where you are so you just KILL them? What kind of economic terrism is this? And why doesn't regulation agents kick this kind of anti-free market monopolist anti-trust actions? Oh, wait, the agencies, organizations and coutries that could stop this will PROFIT for it, so why think ethicly when you get our pockets fatter? So, to make a really long story as short as possible, the United States moved the direction of the trade negotiations with Russia so the laws letting AllOfMp3's to run legaly are the only thing that is stopping Russia to enter to the World Trade Organization. Russia is then, of course, between the sword and the wall, because if they're not on the World Trade Organization their economy will suffer greatly. And so the Russian Parliment gave a preliminary approval to a new law that could shut AllOfMp3's down. And there's nothing we can do about this... Not even condemn Russia (hell, I wouldn't pass that law, but who am I to criticize them for doing the best for their economy?), and condemning USA for this won't change nothing...
In the end, the only thing we non-Americans can do is to boycott those DRM'd services and those major labels (as in "DON'T BUY ANYTHING SONY OR EMI!"), stop buying anything with DRM amd stop giving money to artists that have DRM products (as in not buying anything from them, not going to their shows and so on) and start/keep spending that money (or even more) buying FREE ART, CD's or mp3's without DRM or any kind of restriction. For American citizens, you can do that and a lot more: defend yourselves and your future in the "Land of Freedom", raise your voice and act accordingly, and use your power of vote to make a stop in the present state of USA government - you're being lied to when they say you're in a democracy but you should fight to get it back: back from the actual degenerate form of government known as oligarchy.

5.10.06

Choke

Many people define me as weird as they notice on me while I'm dealing with my feelings. Not that they're classifying my way of dealing with them as weird - they often classify me as such when I don't show any signs of being acting like that because I'm dealing with my feelings. And yes, I know that my way of dealing with my feelings in everything but normal. The thing is that I "live" things too much, or at least I "feel" them more than most people (or so it seems). I'm intense - and that's what makes me having such strong oppinions about so many things, and having so many strong feelings about so many things. The other thing is that I don't consider myself as one of those persons that don't live their lifes: for the best and for the worst, I, having only 23 years old, think that I passed thru a lot of things (once again this is how I feel, not necessarily true), passed thru a lot more than a person with 23 years usually had. All that, mixed between and with some extra ingredients of my personality, makes me a person that does two things simultaniously: allways relate everything with every other thing (like stuff that happened to me in the past), and to live/feel every moment in a preety intense way. It's not uncommon when I'm alone to cry and then to laugh in the same minute just because of those things that are happening in my head - an observer would just define me as weird or, most probable, nuts. Of course that I try not to have that kind of attitude in public (or near somebody else, for all that matters), but if the moment is too intense... I just can't help it. That happens more when I'm dealing with feelings like suffering. You can see me laugh and cry in - for instance - a movie: but what you can't see or understand is that "me being weird" in a kind of "protection system". Tonight (this is being written wednesday), when I got home, I felt that devastating choke once again - a wave of suffering so devastating that I spent several even phisicly painfull moments until finally I've managed to cry it all out.

I guess I've just never cried all I had to for those things I've been thru. Or maybe I'm just a weird or nuts guy trying to get an excuse. Eitherway, this night I felt really bad, I felt that in this past years of my life I've been trying to go on instead of crying it on - and I REALLY have to get over some stuff like Catarina's death two years ago,... and I can't remember when was the last time that I felt so alone.

4.10.06

XXX 2.0


.xxx
Hehehe, NO, THIS IS NOT ABOUT PORN! :-)

One of the big things used in Web 2.0 applications is AJAX (Assyncronous JavaScript and XML), that basicly uses XMLHttpRequest (XHR). Two weeks ago I was in Coimbra talking with a couple of friends that are working on Web development about one big issue I find in "the Web 2.0 world" (and I'm not talking about Yahoo! and Google's guys, I'm more talking about techcrunchies): people are more interested in making something that "just works, was quickly made, and feels sweet for me" than something really good - with acessibility, interoperability, that works with standards and in every browser. If nowadays we don't have (and still despise) that many kind of guys who tell "I don't care about your browser, this works on IE so it's fine", it's not because we had a mind shift, but just because IE sucks. That means that most Webbies now code Web 2.0 apps full of AJAX and Flash, but they don't really care if the webapp works on IE or Opera, if a BSD user can see it (remember that Flash's license forbids you to run Flash in anything but Linux, Windows, Solaris or Mac OS), accessibility, or... standards. Yes, people are quite happy to use Dojo and Prototype of stuff like that, and if they were used to be pissed off with stuff like "oh no, XHR won't let me do cross-site requests!" and write some (awful and secureless) proxies to avoid the problem, now they'll just use yet another framework that does the job for them. But THEN... no one is caring about standards anymore - again.

So, I was telling them, if someone wants to really mark a shift of paradigm on the Web, what we really need is to change the Web: and it's frustrating to see so many people working on Javascript functions with hundreds of lines to get "The Next Effect (TM)" but none of them being working with organizations like the W3C folks to help the development of the new XHTML version, the new Javascript version, the new XMLHttpRequest version, ... And those developments are groing slowly - waaay to slow.

Thus, and to return to this post title, it was decided that, before the release of XMLHttpRequest 2, the cross-site extensions to XMLHttpRequest are going to be released, and the acronym to "Cross-site Extensions to XMLHttpRequest" is XXX.

So my chalenge to those webbies out there is that at least you should read the third (and for now latest) purposal of XXX and comment.

Remember: if you're using HTML and Javascript and stuff like that for a living, if their flaws piss you off, if their niceties make you feel some work days worthy, then YOU'RE THE ONE who could turn your future better - cause all those specs are open for discussion.

PS -> BTW, for those who think that I'm being way to harsh on the usability issue with web 2.0 websites... Did you ever tried to post a comment on websites like TechCrunch using Opera Mini?

3.10.06

Ten things you can do today



"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we've already failed" - Disney Executive.

Defeating DRM is all about awareness. The direct actions that we have taken are all about this. Today we are asking you to let the people around you know that DRM is bad for our society. Let's create space for the debate. Do we want handcuffs and locks on art and knowledge? As our friends at Disney recognize, if there is this debate, we will have won.

Work your way through these actions (some or all) and spread the word that DRM is Defective By Design. Your target is to get the word out to at least 100 people today. and that is easier than you think. Just look at the ideas below and see that you can have some fun and have an impact on the future story of DRM.

For more ideas of actions you can take, visit our list of actions

2.10.06

The Anti-DRM saga continues


DRM-Action-PT-3So, this has been a really long weekend: having finally a new laptop, I spend some time setting it up just the way I like it, copying some backup'ed stuff to it...

Which made me stumble upon my big collection of Jello Biafra's speeches and I heard some hours of those - it's one of those things you cannot get tired of, since he tells you the truth - in your face.

But my weekend couldn't be just it: after all tomorrow is the big day against DRM, and I had all those stickers to help spread the word. Of course, as you might have predicted, things got a little messy. Seems that stores that sell defective products don't really like to have people pointing that fact to their costumers, so I didn't really had an easy time spreading the word. Still, as you can see in the comming pictures, the action all over the world is starting to get some weight, and some good reactions were already caught.

Today I speaded the word some more: blogging about this on Merankorii's website, on Room 404, a place to talk about art, and in Portuguese to DEInix, the Unix users group where I've got my degree.

Yet, a lot more still has to be done. What are YOU waiting for?