27.2.07

Bugfix for Mail::POP3Client 2.17

Bitcard totaly sucks. I've managed to crash it several times, but still can't authenticate on CPAN to fill a bug report. I quit.

For those who might care:


--- /root/.cpan/build/Mail-POP3Client-2.17/POP3Client.pm 2005-08-18 16:28:12.000000000 +0100
+++ /usr/local/share/perl/5.8.8/Mail/POP3Client.pm 2007-02-27 17:36:43.000000000 +0000
@@ -412,7 +412,10 @@
$me->Message($msg);

$me->State('AUTHORIZATION');
- defined($me->User()) and defined($me->Pass()) and $me->Login();
+ if (defined($me->User()) and defined($me->Pass()) and $me->Login()) {
+ return 1;
+ }
+ return 0;

} # end Connect



This is on Connect(), a method that is documented as allways returning 0 or 1, which isn't happening.

26.2.07

MIME::Fast

Not surprisingly, I hate when stuff just does not work.

Trying to use MIME::Fast. To compile it (cpan install MIME::Fast) you need, supposedly, gmime 2.1.9 or higher. I can't get it to compile in any other version of gmime other than 2.1.9 (so old that there are no packages for it either for any version of Debian or Fedora Core 5). Compiling it (that exact version) makes MIME::Fast compile, but its tests only go well under Debian, not Fedora.

Ack.

Dear Lazyweb, do you know any good alternative for MIME::Fast? I mean, a Perl module that lets you easily interpret mail headers and body?

23.2.07

Lan Party Moita 2007

Lan Party Moita 2007

This post is in Portuguese since it has to do with a Portuguese event.

Pelo terceiro ano concecutivo vai haver a Lan Party Moita. Eu nem sou muito de Lan Parties, mas esta promete, visto que tem três dias com um programa bem interessante, em paralelo ao gaming, que pouco me interessa. Será nos dias 23, 24 e 25 de Março, e eu vou lá estar, tendo sido convidado para fazer uma apresentação sobre DRM. Conto que seja uma apresentação melhor construída que aquela que fiz no Tecnonov, se bem que mesmo já nessa os resultados foram positivos...

E tu, vais lá estar?

22.2.07

LinkedInABox

Many of you already know LinkedIn: basicly a social network that concentrates in a nieche and is a sucessful application in doing so. This network agregates info about business people and connect them in a network, providing "a place to find and leverage professional opportunities, now and throughout your career".

Today I stumbled upon another service named LinkedInABox, that easily let's you create (in one minute or so) a widget with your LinkedIn info, giving you the HTML needed to embeed it into your website.

If you want to check out how does it look, take a peek on mine.

21.2.07

Busy times

Hi there...

As you might have noticed with the lack of blog posts, and with the fact that the last ones were only sets of links, I'm really busy (and tired) lately.

I'm thinking about buying a house in Lisbon, so every second of free time is being spent in that search. Infrutiferous, until now, Lisbon is way to expensive, sellers try to decieve buyers, and the only possibilities so far is the "house I can't afford nr.33" and the "older than my granny, bad located" one. Which is a nice way to say that I still found no good possibilities.

I also found out that my laptop's sound card suck terribly. Only five months after having it, monday I noticed that there's a lot of useful stuff I could do with my "Built-in AC’97 compliant audio chip" on my Asus M3N that I can't do with my "HP Premier SoundTM 16 bit sound" on my "HP Compaq nc6220". Bah to HP. I might set up a new hard drive on my onld laptop, just to use its sound card to do some stuff for my musical project...

Changes at work. While still being at Sonaecom IT, on the ISP area, I'm not a coder anymore, to be a services architect. I thought that this "switching period" would be hard, finishing loose strings in the previous position and starting with the new stuff, but the everything is being cool. I think this is great, and if I already liked my job, the new stuff is a lot more appealing and I'm quite sure it will fit well into me.

I've been reading some stuff and having some conversations regarding virtual worlds lately. This is a topic that I've allways, since a kid, found interesting, and I'm eagering to get some time to regulary do some work on the field. But, until then, there are still some things I would like to concentrate about: maintain Selva (I have some stuff to do there, somewhat urgent), maintain Portugal Virtual (the machine is going to be replaced and I have to prepare the migration ASAP), do some work on PyTalker (a new version, v0.2.0, is on the works and I want to release it probably today, but I have to do some tweaking on its website first), on Mamnuts (I want to finish that friggin' thing as soon as possible to stop worry about it), on Second Life (lots to be done to the current open source client, so I can then fork it for my own purposes) and on gnunet-chat (I really wanted to keep updated to its development and architecture decisions, trying to avoid a later fork).

So, as you see, I think I have some excuses for the lack of updates here!

Now, for your sake, here's a new batch of interesting links:

14.2.07

Links

So, I've been kind of busy lately, so I didn't post anything lately. To avoid having one more day without posts, here is what I have in my browser tabs:

Have a nice reading time.

12.2.07

GNUnet 0.7.1b released

GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking that does not use any centralized or otherwise trusted services. A first service implemented on top of the networking layer allows anonymous censorship-resistant file-sharing. GNUnet uses a simple, excess-based economic model to allocate resources. Peers in GNUnet monitor each others behavior with respect to resource usage; peers that contribute to the network are rewarded with better service.

For now mostly used for file sharing and storage, it will soon have a revamped gnunet-chat tool so you can use the GNUnet anonymous and encripted network to chat, and an anonymizer layer so you can run any application you want above GNUnet.

Yesterday, GNUnet 0.7.1b was released. Get it here.

8.2.07

Apple on DRM, and reactions it caused

DRM is killing musicBy now almost everyone knows that Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, wrote two days ago an article about DRM on iTunes Music Store, in reaction to the the latest events in Europe, where several countries are telling Apple to ditch DRM or else they're going to be sued.

So, Jobs told us his/Apple's public position about the use of DRM in iTunes, telling that there are three paths for the future:
  1. Let everything as it is now (keep DRM, bad)
  2. License Apple's DRM technology (keep DRM, bad)
  3. Stop selling songs with DRM (ditch DRM, good)
Using his words, Apple would embrace DRM-free music "in a heartbeat" if "the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM.", or so they say.

Well, they also say that
"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

In other words, they're trying to escape from the lawsuits that are comming, by telling Europe to force the big four to do a nice deal with Apple... instead of forcing Apple to do their job.

Cool, heh?

Of course that this action already had some results:

Senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse of the Norwegian Consumer Council did the best thing possible, and gave Jobs the reply he deserved:

"Our concern is of course that it's Apple and [the] iTunes Music Store [that] should be addressing the issue of record companies and DRM themselves if it needs to be addressed - and as we've stated earlier it's iTunes Music Store that's providing a service to the consumers and therefore has the responsibility to offer up a consumer friendly product."
and
"no matter what agreements [the] iTunes Music Store [has] entered into, they're still the company that's selling music to the consumers and are responsible for offering the consumer a fair deal according to Norwegian law."

On the other hand, RIAA refuses a DRM-free world, telling that "option 2" (open Apple's DRM technology) should be the choice, ant that
"We have no doubt that a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could work with the music community to make that happen"
, but this is the option that Jobs himself dismissed...

As I've told you before, EMI is really slowly experimenting music sells without DRM. Inquired about it, Jeanne Meyer, an EMI spokeswomen, said:

"The feedback from fans (has) been very enthusiastic,"

and that

"I think the labels will release selected back-catalog stuff, to see what happens"

6.2.07

The Social Web of Music

For those who read this blog for a while now, you've probably noticed that I write a lot about music and technology, sometimes both. A pair of posts I did on the issue may be already somewhat outdated: one about finding music on the web, and other about the web for music artists and lovers.

While there's some discussion around the web on wether Web 2.0 is better or worse than P2P for this kind of stuff, an issue I would love to talk about in a future post, today I'm going to talk about "The Social Web of Music", impelled by the fact that Techcrunch made a Social Music Review that, IMHO, doesn't really reflect the great web apps out there in the field.

They chose eight products: FineTune, Pandora, Last.fm, Mog, Radio.Blog.Club, MyStrands, iLike and iJigg.

My first comment about the chosen applications is that FineTune, Pandora, Last.fm, Mog, and Radio.Blog.Club aim exactly for the same, so they're concurrents themselves.

FineTune lets you create playlists of music you want to hear, which is great if you want to be listening to some music instead of knowing new music.

On the other hand Pandora (here are some posts where I talked about it) has the easiest user interface of all, and has the best algorithm of finding out music that you'll probably like. On the other hand, it has two major problems: it almost only has mainstream music (almost everything comes out from the major labels) and it's only legal to use it in USA (so, no Pandora for us European guys).

My favourite of the bunch is Last.fm (my cover here): while it wasn't until some time ago, the social features it has are preety good. I'm intending to do a full cover of Last.fm and the way I use it, but for now I'll only say that it has an impressive social component that lets you (only if you want, and that's good) tag, rate, talk, know new stuff, get free tracks, and a lot lot more. It has something that beats those others: it lets bands or labels to create their pages there and promote their music. That makes it preety cool for bands and for those wanting to listen music, mainstream or not. The social component there is strong enough to make a band, by publicising themselves there (upload a music free for stream or even download, and it will surely be heard) to get fans or even sell your music in a much success rate than any other webapp I know of.

Mog also lets artists upload their music, but... well, it quite sucks. It's confusing, it has bad design, and the real use for which I can imaging Mog being the app you're looking for is only if you want to blog about music. And, for that, Last.fm would also be fine...

Radio.Blog.Club was a big surprise: I can't imagine it being relevant in a discussion about the "social web of music". I guess that the only reason why it was referred is that the author thinks that "the interface is good". Sorry, but I do not agree. Call me stupid, but while the website says that artists can upload their music, and while, by the file names, users are obviously submitting (copyrighted stuff, BTW), I walked around for 10 minutes or so and didn't find out how to do it. I don't intend to come back there.

MyStrands might be "social music", but isn't web: it's a desktop application you have to download, and there are only versions for Windows or Mac OS. Since I'm a Linux user, this isn't for me.

iLike is even worse: it's an iTunes plugin. No, I don't use iTunes.

Finaly, iJigg: the music digg. I don't really like digg, so I might be biased on this, but iJigg is just... well, if you want to discover music and you want "anything" (forget finding stuff similar of what you already know and like), or if you want copyrighted stuff that others post there (lot's of it, there), then you might find it interesting. But I doubt that it will be "the music web app you'll get used to use".

So, if these are my oppinions about the choices, what would be mine?

For me, only five stand out:

Pandora - I've talked about it up there, so go back and read it :-) If you're resident in USA and what you want is to get at your job in the morning, open a browser tab and make it play music you like until it's time to go home, this is for you. Easy, fast learning, great interface, preety cool. If you like something enough, you can buy the track or album in iTunes (please, don't - those tracks have DRM) or Amazon.

Last.fm - The music experience and interaction. Put your music player to feed Last,fm, use it to listen what other people recommend you, bands similar to the one you're listening now, other bands from the same music label, leave a comment, take a peek on what other Last.fm users that listen to it like to hear, know new bands, get some free, legal, DRM-free music.

SellABand - I promised a full review of it that I never did (shame on me). To give you an example... I have a musical project and I've used the internet to promote it - and even to get the label that released my last album. Of all those music services my music can be heard, SellABand is the one where I probably have less people listening to it - but in the other hand is the one that possibly granted me more fans. Also, Last.fm and SellABand were direct creators of revenue: I sold at least one CD thanks to each of them. What's SellABand? What makes it so different? No better than this page to explain it, but basicly bands, for free, create their profiles there, with (at their choice) free-to-listen music. "Believers" (the name for listeners) may "believe" in an artist by buying one "part" of the band ($10 per part). Then, "Together Believers have to raise $50,000 to get their Artist of choice in the studio. At any point before your Artist has reached the Goal of $50,000, you can withdraw your Parts and pick a different Artist. You can even get your money back. It's your music. It's your choice." If one band reaches $50,000 (in four months two already did), a CD is released, you get a copy, 50% of the profits go to the band, and the other 50% are distributed to their believers.

Amie.st - I talked about this before, and Mike from Techcrunch is a big fan of this, so my surprise was huge when I noticed that this wasn't on their list. Basicly they consider that every track has a value, but music lovers are the ones who should decide whats its value. So, When a band uploads one music there, it starts costing "0 credits", and if people say that the song should cost more than that, it starts costing something, and more, and more. It's the free market aplied to music - a way better way of knowing and buying digital music - you're basicly paying it's "real value".

MySpace Music - This had to be here. I don't like MySpace (nobody does, right?) but it's the biggest website on the Internet, and that means something. If you ignore all the kiddy social crap and take a look to in only taking into consideration the music aspects, you'll see that this is the most used "music webapp". You have from really big and well-known bands like Björk there, and you have that until the "I don't have or want a band, but I once did this track" stuff. You have music for every kind of tastes, some you can only stream and some you can download. You can see, specialy from the "top friends", what other somewhat simmilar bands you'll possible like, and discover lots of music.

And you? What music web applications do you use?

5.2.07

Gimme a license!

Dear LazyWeb:

Since I wrote this post last year, that it crossed my mind several times that I should license the contents of this blog, but with some recent discussion on a mailing list I decided: it's time. The problem is that I'm not really confortable with any license I know of. I wanted something like Public Domain, but that license has a severe problem (the one that made me decide not license more music under Public Domain): PD terms change from place to place: while I'm confortable with PD in Portugal, I'm not with USA's or UK's terms, and I simply find disgusting how PD is in Canada. The obvious choice would be something like Creative Commons licenses, as a matter of fact I like Attribution 2.5 Portugal. The problem is that all CC licenses tell that "For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work", which can cause some unnecessary trouble for those reusing my data.

So, dear LazyWeb, do you know of any license that solve my problem?

2.2.07

Caveats in the Social Web

Web 2.0

After my last blog post where I told you that Social Web has some issues, like freedom, let me talk you a little more on the issue.

I use lots "social webapps", I even revamped my planet today (I use Planet Noori as my RSS reader, but several people also read it, and a Planet has several advantages like the fact that it is easily reachable and readable by serveral devices like my cellphone with Opera Mini). But using third-party social apps have caveats.

My planet used to be on Ning, but it didn't give me the flexibility I needed, so I changed back to my own instalation and setup of PlanetPlanet.

Yesterday Google News was messed up, as well as Blogger was (that's why I didn't write anything here yesterday).

Merankorii's webshop (Merankorii is my musical project) was made using MyShopify: an AWSOME webapp to create an e-shop really easy. The problem is that it has a considerable downtime of several minutes per day. "Jaded Pixel does not warrant that the service will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free."

So, what am I talking about? Well, simply that it is easy to agree on start using some services and rely on them without having any "insurance" on the availability of the service. It's basicly the same problem that you have on relying on 3rd-party API's. Have you ever read Google's Privacy Policy? Doesn't bother you that all the operations you do on blogger, including authentication, is being have in plain text (http instead of https)?

This isn't to be a big post talking about the Social Web, but simply aims to make YOU think.

Microsoft Windows Vienna

Microsoft Windows

I'm not sure why, maybe it was because this will make people stop talking about how bad Windows Vista is. Microsoft filled a patent application, obviously describing what are they planning to release as the next version of Windows, formerly known as Blackcomb, now named as Windows Vienna, and scheduled to be released between 2009 and 2012.

I read it yesterday and almost choke on my dinner, and probably my humor got affected by it in the Lisbon.pm social meeting that happened after it.

What's all this fuss about it?

Imagine a world where you have a really limited choice of hardware to buy. The brand and manufacturer doesn't really matter, so you'll ignore those. You'll just have the "bad motherboard", the "good motherboard" and the "awsome motherboard". And they're expensive - more than now. After buying your computer (and by computer I mean - for the desktop market - a black box, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse), you'll have to buy the operating system. No, listen to me, you have to pay for it: your hardware won't run anything else but this Operating System. Right. Now, you bought it (well, probably it came bundled with the machine you just bought as well), go home and turn it on. WELCOME TO MICROSOFT WINDOWS VIENNA! And there are those... err... four big buttons: "Install Software", "Install Hardware", "Suspend" and "Shutdown". They can even do something like the actual Nintendo Wii interface: you have a square for one of those things and free space for some more. Now, you want to buy a word processor, because you bought this computer to write some documents, and you want to do it online because you don't want to get out of home. So, you connect your USB modem on your computer and you're notified "ILLEGAL SOFTWARE DETECTION - THAT MODEM ISN'T VIENNA CERTIFIED". Yup, welcome to the Trusted Computer Era. So, you call to your retailer and ask for certidied Vienna modems, you reserve one and the next day you go to the store to buy it.

Now, I could continue this story (I have better things to do, sorry) for a big load of time, to show you how desparetedly bad this is. If hardware manufacturers want to sell hardware where Windows runs, they'll have to pay - a lot - to Microsoft. If a user wants one functionality - any functionality (yes, including minesweeper) - will have to pay - a lot - to Microsoft. This is valid to any 3rd-party software: it will only work on Windows if Microsoft DRM system accepts it: pay. It will limit your hardware usage: if you want to have high bandwith you'll have to start paying twice: still to your ISP and now to Microsoft so they unblocks your hardware and let's it use another well-defined bandwith. It will even act on your harddrive space and speed, your processor, your motherboard, your life. Every site you visit must be "trusted" - by them. Maybe this will stop the worries of Google and Yahoo! on censorship: Microsoft will do it for them. Of course that, in this scenario, both Google and Yahoo! are useless... but I digress.

If you think that this dystopian view is way to exagerated, please read about this issue from some people that are better explaining the issue than me, or from those that are good in giving your a legal interpretation of the patent.

I have to start to agree with Paula about all this thing going around the "social web" - services instead of products and the lack of privacy and ultimately freedom that comes with it. Microsoft is aiming it fiercily - maybe it's time to really act and actively do something to fix Ubuntu's bug #1... Before 2009.