31.5.07

Do you have a Google Account?

Do you have a Google Account? Something like a Blogger account, or Gmail, or Orkut, or... anything? I bet you do. And did you read this?


11. Content licence from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this licence shall permit Google to take these actions.

11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above licence.

I tried to find this a couple of days ago in a discussion on why using GMail was really bad privacy-wise, but it seems that I had to come to the general Services TOS... Yet, this still applies for those. All Your Base Are Belong To Google?

Updating from Fedora Core 5 to Fedora Core 6

I have a Fedora machine, not because I like Fedora (I don't), but because it is all setted up in a way that it would be too costly to migrate it to anything else. So, until I don't have the time to rebuild that system, I'm keeping with Fedora there... Last October I've updated it from FC4 to FC5: a really painful process. Now, since FC5 will be discontinued in less than a month, I decided to upgrade from FC5 to FC6, and was really surprised to see that the process was preety trivial:

# yum upgrade
# rpm -Uhv \
http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/core/6/i386/os/Fedora/RPMS/fedora-release-6-4.noarch.rpm \
http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/core/6/i386/os/Fedora/RPMS/fedora-release-notes-6-3.noarch.rpm
# cp fedora-core.repo.rpmnew fedora-core.repo
# cp fedora-extras.repo.rpmnew fedora-extras.repo
# cp fedora-updates.repo.rpmnew fedora-updates.repo
# yum remove gnocky bmp-mp3 mplayer
# yum -y update
# yum upgrade
# reboot

It all went well, but the fact that the fonts have changed (are bluried) at least on konsole (I'll check that later, for now I just enlarged the font).

Surprising!

30.5.07

Today, in the music business...

Terra Firma raised their offer for EMI, and set'd up June 27 as the aquisition deadline.

On other field, CBS bought Last.fm, which not only dictates the end of Last.fm's financial problems, but also their move to the USA's legislation, with all that it might imply.

Finaly, NYTimes tells us that "CD sales have plunged more than 20 percent this year", and they talk like that is the end of music, and its cultural value. But they also tell us that "more than half of all music acquired by fans last year came from unpaid sources including Internet file sharing and CD burning, according to the market research company NPD Group", which, from my calculus, tells us that we have a rise on music (roughly 40%), which is far from the idea that music is diying.

29.5.07

My PGP Key

Hi there,

This is a quick post just to let you know that I've updated my PGP key.

Intellectual Property Rights

Alfred Hoffman, Jr., USA Ambassador in Portugal, wrote in the 4th of May, 2007, in "Jornal de Negócios", an article (in Portuguese) about Intellectual Property Rights, called "Proteger os Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual é um Dever de Todos". This article is completelly full of misconceptions, and I think there's a need to straight that issue out. Thus, I'm here going to cite the article, and comment it. Since the article is in Portuguese, the rest of this article will also go on in Portuguese.

Alfred Hoffment começa o seu texto assim:


A expressão “Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual” é uma forma complicada de designar a responsabilização pela produção de um produto e a protecção da criatividade humana.

"Direitos" não designa "responsabilização", "produção", "produto" ou "protecção". E, a não ser que me justifiquem o contrário, eu vou continuar com a definição de "direito" que me dita o dicionário da Língua Portuguesa.

É o mecanismo legal que, através do direito de autor, das patentes e das marcas registadas, garante que os produtos que compramos são genuínos, e que outra pessoa não rouba as nossas ideias.

Errado. "Propriedade Intelectual", "Direitos de Autor", "Patentes" e "Marcas registadas" são quatro conceitos diferentes. Não existe relação entre "direitos de propriedade intelectual" e "produtos genuínos", nem esses direitos implicam a existência de um produto ou de uma compra. Da mesma forma, a "Propriedade Intelectual" não garante que as nossas ideias não são roubadas, mesmo partindo do princípio que existe o conceito de "roubar uma ideia" (que, já que é referida, gostava de ver explicada ou definida).

Os direitos de propriedade intelectual não protegem apenas os inventores.

Direitos não são protecção. Os direitos não protegem nada. Os direitos são direitos, simplesmente. Eu tenho o direito de vestir roupa amarela em público, por exemplo. O que tem isso a haver com protecção? Não é diferente no caso dos direitos de propriedade intelectual.

Protegem todos aqueles cuja segurança depende da fiabilidade dos produtos em todos os países do mundo, incluindo Portugal.

Obviamente que não: a propriedade intelectual não define qualidade ou fiabilidade. Eu posso desenvolver um produto do qual tenho a propriedade intelectual, que é tão mal feito que está cheio de defeitos e que não é fiável. O facto de ter propriedade intelectual sobre ele não faz desse produto mais fiável.

E assim decorre o primeiro parágrafo. Como podem ver, não existe parte dele com a qual eu concorde... É esta a introdução que dão a um artigo sobre os Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual? Bem, se continuarmos a ler o artigo, entendemos o porquê desta introdução: o seu autor não está a falar de propriedade intelectual. Mas não é aí que me choca: um político vir a público defender os seus ideais políticos? Pois claro, todos devemos ter a liberdade para o poder fazer, e não a contestarei a alguém só porque as minhas ideias divergem das apresentadas, no entanto, a confusão de tópicos passa ao ridículo e deixa de o ser quando chegamos a parágrafos como este:

Num mundo em que as ideias são uma moeda de troca comum a todos os países, a pirataria de propriedade intelectual corrói a economia e a identidade cultural dos países.

Ora, eu não conheço um mundo em que as ideias são uma moeda de troca, muito menos comum a todos os países. Certamente o nosso não o é. Não conheço tal conceito de pirataria de propriedade intelectual, mas consigo adivinhar o que o autor quer dizer. Façamos no entanto o exercício fictício de pensar num mundo em que efectivamente as ideias fossem a moeda de troca comum. Como poderia existir ou aplicar-se a propriedade intelectual nesses casos? Se eu pago bens com ideias, o detentor da ideia não muda de mãos? Então, de quem é a propriedade intelectual? Como podemos ler aqui, e passo a citar,
O copyright protege expressões mas não as ideias em si; isso está escrito em todo o direito de copyright. Sem essa distinção entre forma e conteúdo, concebida no final do século XVIII por filósofos como Johann Gottlieb Fichte, o copyright iria implodir ou explodir. Não podemos invocar o copyright para proteger factos, palavras, acordes ou cores, mas se pegarmos num número suficiente deles e combinarmos-los de acordo com o que nos passa pela alma, podemos atravessar o “limiar da originalidade” e entrar no domínio das obras de arte.

Em Portugal, tal como em qualquer outro país da Europa, as ideias não são legalmente resguardadas, e felizmente. A única tentativa para que isso mudasse é a das chamadas patentes de software, que tentam patentear ideias, o que por si só é uma má ideia, na minha opinião, e que, de qualquer forma, não existe, pelo menos ainda, em Portugal. De qualquer forma, e ainda que existissem, a realidade é que a patenteabilidade de ideias restringe os direitos de Autor. Finalmente, há que dizer que é a partilha da arte que ajuda à evolução e criação de uma cultura, comunidade e identidade. Se se transformam ideias em moeda de troca, não seria a sua pirataria que iria "corroir a economia e a identidade cultural": a não partilha/comercialização de ideias faria com que se reduzisse o grupo ao individualismo, criando a "economia do um", e abolindo o conceito de "identidade cultural de países", pois cada um teria o seu conjunto de "objectos culturais", como se de um bem se tratasse. Mas deixemo-nos de cenários distópicos...
[...]copiar CDs de música portuguesa prejudica a indústria musical e torna-a menos competitiva no mercado global.

Sendo eu contra a cópia ilegal de CD's, tenho no entanto que desmistificar o que aqui foi dito. Em primeiro lugar, os estudos não financiados pela indústria discográfica costumam indicar a pirataria de música como um dos grandes impulsionadores da sua compra, e não o contrário. No entanto, também ditam estudos de mercado, as pessoas mais "educadas musicalmente" têm tendência a ter nas suas preferências música que é editada não pelas major labels mas sim pelas pequenas editoras. Finalmente, existem ainda estudos que dizem que, percentualmente, há menos música independente a ser pirateada que música editada pelas major labels. Mas ignoremos isso e foquemo-nos na indústria musical que lança a música Portuguesa, e veremos qual a sua relação com a força de competitividade das editoras Portuguesas no mercado global. A maioria da música Portuguesa é lançada pelas major labels, e mais de 80% da música Portuguesa vendida é de editoras que não são Portuguesas. Realce-se que aqui estou a considerar editoras como a "Valentim de Carvalho", visto que esta é pertencente à EMI. A cópia de CD's de música Portuguesa não prejudica as editoras Portuguesas, nem as torna menos competitivas no mercado global - bem pelo contrário. A música Portuguesa não prejudica a indústria discográfica, como um todo, visto que o conceito de indústria discográfica engloba não só as editoras como também muitos outros elementos, como músicos e compositores. O que a pirataria de CD's afecta, isso sim, é o mercado mundial de música, visto que este é controlado pelas "grandes quatro" major labels (Warner, EMI, Sony e Universal) que, em 2005, tinham 81.87% do mercado.
Devíamos encarar o desrespeito pelos Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual como uma nova forma de pirataria – só que, em vez de roubos em alto mar, trata-se de roubo electrónico da propriedade de alguém.
Encarar o desrespeito pelos Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual como crime? Não, encaremos o desrespeito como uma liberdade. Eu não respeito certas pessoas ou entidades, por exemplo, e não é por isso que estou a cometer um crime: bem pelo contrário, estou a exercer um meu direito - o da opinião. Devíamos encarar a violação dos Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual e os Direitos de Autor (que, como já referi, são diferentes) como um crime? A lei Portuguesa já o faz. Mas "roubo electrónico da propriedade de alguém"? Nem pensar! Pare-se, por favor, de utilizar o chavão do "pirataria é um roubo". Não o é, e não é encarado como tal na lei - felismente. Roubo é privar a alguém de algo que era seu por direito, para ficar com a posse do objecto roubado. Se eu copiar um CD e dele fizer quinhentos, para os ir vender (aquilo a que é chamada a pirataria informática), onde está o roubo? É ilegal, correcto, mas não é um roubo, ninguém ficou privado do CD original, usado para a cópia! Contrafacção não é roubo.

Segue-se o parágrafo mais hilariante de todo o artigo:
Como vários oradores realçaram durante a conferência sobre Direitos de Propriedade Intelectual que a Embaixada dos EUA em Lisboa patrocinou, no passado mês de Março, uma inadequada protecção desses mesmos direitos fragiliza a imagem de uma empresa e provoca perda de quota de mercado. O que, por sua vez, prejudica os programas governamentais, assim como o emprego público e privado, sendo que os próprios consumidores acabam por pagar o custo em termos de saúde e segurança.

Não estive presente na dita conferência, mas o que se diz neste parágrafo é que se uma empresa não proteger adequadamente os seus direitos os consumidores dos seus produtos têm o seu governo, o seu emprego, a sua saúde e a sua segurança em risco. Credo! Estou ansioso por saber que empresas estiveram nessa conferência: concerteza que eu não quero ser consumidor dos seus produtos!
As leis que regulam a atribuição de patentes encorajam a descoberta de novos e melhorados produtos e processos ao mesmo tempo que asseguram, tanto quanto possível, o acesso do público a informação sobre esses novos produtos e processos.
As leis que regulam a atribuição de patentes... regulam a atribuição de patentes. Não encorajam nada, não melhoram nada, não asseguram nada além de que determinada patente deve ser atribuída ou não, e não informam ninguém sobre produtos ou processos. De qualquer forma, patentes não estão relacionados com direitos de propriedade intelectual.
A legislação sobre marcas registadas encoraja o desenvolvimento e a manutenção da alta qualidade de produtos e serviços e ajuda as empresas a garantir a fidelidade dos clientes.
Como? Que tenha conheciamento, a legislação sobre marcas registadas permite, apenas, a criação e o registo de marcas, para que empresas ou indivíduos possam criar uma marca e uma imagem em volta da mesma. Uma marca não encoraja qualidade. Quanto à ajuda que dá às empresas para garantir a fidelidade dos clientes, apesar de isso ser verdade, não vejo a sua relação com os direitos de propriedade intelectual.

Finalmente o artigo termina dizendo que:
As tecnologias de informação e as comunicações, os medicamentos seguros e as outras inovações que formam a espinha dorsal da economia moderna só são possíveis por causa dos direitos de propriedade intelectual. A esperança que todos temos num futuro risonho, depende daqueles inventores e inovadores que farão do mundo um lugar melhor – se os seus esforços criativos e trabalho forem protegidos.

É uma opinião, e deve ser respeitada como tal. Convém é frisar que esta é uma mera opinião, e não uma verdade universal.

28.5.07

Warner aims to buy EMI, alone

According to The Guardian, Warner is now wanting to buy EMI, alone. This comes after they had some talks with private equity firms, and Lucky Jim's claims of wanting EMI too.

I have already speculated about this aquisition here.

25.5.07

Quickies

DOG - Distrust of Google

Google is too secretive. Too unwilling to engage. Too aloof. Oh, and Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, has lost touch with how normal people think (if these quotes are correct, and that’s a big “if”). If they are correct I think it’s evidence that he’s been hanging around too many advertising execs lately. Their goal is to put impulses into your mind so you take certain actions (like buy Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi). Believe it or not advertising execs talk like that. So, when Eric is reported to have said, during a visit to Britain this week: “The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’” we all get a little freaked out. We don’t want Google to know that much about us.
This is a quote from an article that talks about DOG: "Distrust of Google". He says that "Fear Of Google. FOG. It’s all over the blogs today.". Finaly - I've been talking about this for quite a while... It's an interest reading, indeed.

Here.

24.5.07

Ripple

Ripple logo

In January I talked about GoodSearch, a search engine that, if you use, per each click you are giving money to some charity entity of your choice. It's a preety damn idea - users do the same they did but in the process are helping good causes. I said "I'm off using Google Search", and I was... for three or four days. Why? Well, basicly because GoodSearch is Powered by Yahoo! Search, and, even having trying a damn lot, I came into conclusion that either Google Search is terribly better than Yahoo!'s search, or I'm completely addicted to Google Search ways of doing it's search and giving the results. I bet on the second. Anyway, I quit GoodSearch and was back to Google... Until today, where I heard about Ripple. To make a long story short, Ripple is basicly the same thing, but it is powered by Google and not by Yahoo!. So I've changed: it takes one second to click in a button and install Ripple search on your browser, and 30 seconds to change your default search engine from Google to Ripple. Awsome! Then I changed back to google. Why? Well, it seems that my search habbits changed this last couple of months. When I was trying to search for Ripple reviews I couldn't do what I'm now used to: search for "Ripple", click on "News", and then on "Blogs". Yes, Google offers more than Ripple as a search engine, for my needs. Yet, Ripple might be the perfect search engine for you.

A more extensive review on Ripple is here.

23.5.07

AllOfMp3 and DRM

I was feeling quite depressed and started venting on Selva, a Portuguese talker. Since that, after this, I didn't feel like writing an article about it... Here's the log (with permission, of course) of the conversation (unfortunately in Portuguese).

BTW, just for reference, here are the latest news on AllOfMp3, to be dead at the 1st of June, and the Portuguese anti-DRM action I also talked about.



MindBoosterNoori says: estou deveras aborrecido
MindBoosterNoori says: Nao consigo entender como e' que ha' pessoas que nao acham nada de mal neste mundo
MindBoosterNoori says: num mundo em que as corporacoes mandam mais que a lei, fazem as leis
Hellraiser asks: hum?
Hellraiser says: ja' ouvi falar...
MindBoosterNoori says: Um site na Russia, completamente legal, que vendia musica muuuuuuuito barata porque as leis na Russia de copyright sao diferentes das dos USA
MindBoosterNoori says: entao eles pagavam directamente aos artistas e nao 'as labels
MindBoosterNoori says: houve obviamente pressao das big co's para fechar aquilo, comprar para depois fechar... de tudo.
MindBoosterNoori says: nao conseguiram
Hellraiser says: ena
Hellraiser says: nao sabia que isso era assim
MindBoosterNoori says: entao fizeram pressao junto a varios governos, e os USA, a Alemanha, o Reino Unido e a Dinamarca forcaram os ISP's a bloquear o site
Hellraiser says: curto a filosofia
MindBoosterNoori says: depois fizeram pressao contra a Visa, Mastercard e Paypal para deixarem de aceitar pagamentos para aquilo
MindBoosterNoori says: conclusao, o site ficou a funcionar um esquema de vouchers
MindBoosterNoori says: entao
MindBoosterNoori says: no reino unido agora e' proibido vender ou ajudar 'a venda desses vouchers
MindBoosterNoori says: 1 gajo foi preso e tudo
MindBoosterNoori says: mas achas que isso chega? naaaaaaaaaao...
MindBoosterNoori says: entao, fizeram um ultimato 'a Russia
Hellraiser says: isso ta' a ir um bocado longe demais... :-/
Hellraiser asks: houve artistas a queixarem-se?
MindBoosterNoori says: se quiserem pertencer 'a World Trade Organization (o organismo que, em ultima instancia, define quem e' pais do 1o mundo e quem nao e')
MindBoosterNoori says: teem de mudar a lei
MindBoosterNoori says: e entao a Russia vai mudar a lei dia 1
MindBoosterNoori says: para tornar o AllOfMP3 ilegal.
MindBoosterNoori says: makes me sick.
Hellraiser says: yah
MindBoosterNoori says: artistas a queixar-se? claro que nao... os artistas ficam mais contentes
MindBoosterNoori says: recebem 'a mesma, mas a musica deles e' tao barata que as pessoas compram muito mais musica
MindBoosterNoori says: tipo, em vez de comprares uma faixa, compras logo a discografia toda :-P
Hellraiser says: pensava que os artistas ganhavam mais por "venda directa"
MindBoosterNoori says: 1.30 centimos por faixa? nah, no allofmp3 1.30 paga-te cerca de 130 Mb de musica
MindBoosterNoori says: (la' a musica e' paga ao Mb)
MindBoosterNoori says: os artistas ganham mais se nao tiverem intermediarios
MindBoosterNoori says: como no caso do all of mp3
MindBoosterNoori says: ou seja
MindBoosterNoori says: eles estavam contentes
MindBoosterNoori says: quem nao gostou da coisa nao foram os artistas, foram as editoras
Hellraiser says: sim, sim. eu percebi
Hellraiser says: mas quem pode fazer forca, sao os artistas e os consumidores
Hellraiser says: o "negocio" das editoras ja' eu conheco...
MindBoosterNoori says: bem, a nao ser boicotar as major labels em forma de protesto, mas isso ja' eu faco :-P
MindBoosterNoori says: quem podia fazer era o povo Russo
MindBoosterNoori asks: mas achas que eles foram "avisados" de que se ia tomar esta decisao?
MindBoosterNoori says: BAH.
Hellraiser says: pois
MindBoosterNoori feels depressed
Hellraiser says: melhores dias virao...
MindBoosterNoori says: right.
MindBoosterNoori says: Aqui ha' uns meses consegui finalmente criar o DRM-PT.info
MindBoosterNoori says: criar buzz em volta do tema do DRM
MindBoosterNoori says: comecei a ver jornais, revistas, proteste, bloggers por todo lado, em Portugal, a interessar-se pelo tema, a mostrarem-se indignados
MindBoosterNoori says: e' organizado um protesto
MindBoosterNoori says: quantas pessoas inscritas menos de 48 horas antes? 4.
Hellraiser :-/
MindBoosterNoori says: e' um protesto dificil de fazer? nao, e' ir 'a porta de um cinema e distribuir panfletos.
MindBoosterNoori says: olha
MindBoosterNoori says: importas-te que ponha esta conversa no meu blog? :-P
Hellraiser says: nao
Hellraiser says: na boa
MindBoosterNoori says: vai mesmo assim em Portugues, nem me apetece escrever mais sobre o assunto...

Warner might raise offer for EMI

EMI + Warner + EU

After Terra Nova doing an offer to EMI that was accepted, EU regulator frees Warner Music to raise offer for EMI, which I find odd. Anyway, the stock market is already waiting for a new bid from Warner, so I guess we'll have more news on this issue preety soon.

So, what do I find of this? Well, while some think that Terra Firma's guidance is going to be worse than nowadays EMI, at least I think that nothing worse than being bought by Warner could happen. What would be trully great was if somebody else took them. Since that seems improbable, let's just hope that Warner stays quiet.

Project Outback - p2p virtual world

http://www.23hq.com/Mind_Booster_Noori/photo/1977241/large
Yoick, an Australian company, is working on Project Outback, a virtual world that, according to this article, is going to be a p2p virtual world. You can already subscribe for a beta account, which I did, and read their blog. Here is, for instance, a nice piece on their blog, where they criticize Second Life and gives some tips for those creating virtual worlds.

Subscribe to Last.fm

Finaly I found out how to get back those features I had before on Last.fm: €2.50/month. I don't know if it just me, but I think that this subscription plan was completely unecessary: with the users, comunity, content and features that they have, Last.fm could be easily profitable without having to create "premium features". This way, they're creating one more possible flaw to their business: some other yet-to-be-released webapp that gives all that... for free. Oh, BTW, I'm a big fan of Last.fm.

5¼-inch DD floppies

When talking about floppy disks, most people think about 3½-inch HD diskettes, that appeared in 1987 and had 1.44 MB of space. But what before there? 5¼-inch DD, appeared in 1978, with 360 KB space, and then 5 ¼-inch QD appeared in 1982 with 1.2 MB.
http://www.23hq.com/Mind_Booster_Noori/photo/1976882/large
Now, as you can see in that image, I happen to have three sealed boxes (ten floppies in each) of Mitsubishi 5¼-inch DD diskettes, nowadays considered preety rare - it seems that the last retailer of this disks was a Portuguese company named Porsintronic, a company that ended at 2004 or even before.

So, who wants a piece of rarity? ;-)

Richard Stallman in Portugal, today and tomorrow

Richard Stallman from GNU is in Portugal and will be giving two presentations.


If you're interested in going, click in any of those links for more info.

21.5.07

Quickies

Quickies:

The Warner and EMI dance

I've reported here before that Warner is again wanting to buy EMI, after EMI's decision to sell DRM-free tracks on iTunes. After that, I told you that after all EMI could be bought and not by Warner, but by a set of private equity firms interested in the deal. EMI gave them until May 23 to present their offers, and as the date is getting closer, the tension grows... The big news today is that Warner may offer extra $240m for EMI thanks to the confidence that the European competition regulators.

Of course I hope that this merge does not happen, but worse than that is that, all of the sudden, it seems that everything points out for an European aprooval of this merge, where previously everything pointed to the other side. I have no clue on what changed, and, unless someone got his bank account more joyful to change his oppinion, I just don't get why could a Warner/EMI merge be considered as possibly not fall into anti-trust. Let me just remind you that Warner recognized that the new impulse to buy EMI came out of their latest decisions (like selling DRM-free music) that are taking the music industry to a path that they don't like. Isn't buying some company to change the complete industry to a deliberate path exactly what anti-trust measures try to prevent?

18.5.07

Trains

I lost the chance of an earlier train and the discount of a two-way ticket thanks to the misleading Portuguese Trains website. Thank you, assholes.

Flash usage

Flash Usage

This image was taken from my blog's statistics. What about it? Well, it's just a reminder: For every 20 visitors you have, one of them can't see your Flash content!

Is Web 2.0 with usability or not?

BBC quotes Jakob Nielsen, while he says, basicly, that Web 2.0 is with a creepy lack of usability. People are more interested in doing fancy things than actualy making them work well. And... Not only I agree with him, but also am having this discussion with several people in the Web 2.0 world for more than two years. Of course that telling this also pisses a lot of people, and we got a R/WW post saying basicly, that none of that is true, and that Web 2.0 has a lot of usability. I'm sorry, I'm not going to use this space to bash anyone, to talk about who's right and wrong or doing publicity to 37signals. I'm just going to pick some examples to show what I mean with lack of usability.

  1. Have you ever tried to post a comment in TechCrunch using Opera Mini? Well, you can't...
  2. ...which reminds me the whole issue of "mobile versions" and "mobile portals". When you need to do a web version of your web application to run in some browsers (mobile or not), you sure usability problems. Remember, a mobile device is also a computer with an web browser.
  3. YouTube was a given example of usability by R/WW. Excuse me? IMHO the only way you can use YouTube in any Operating System besides Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Solaris (like any BSD, for instance) is by downloading the video (using something like youtube-dl or a GreaseMonkey script), since it heavily depends on Adobe Flash, which licence does not permit its use in any Operating System other than those refered above;
  4. XHR. You know? XMLHttpRequest, that thingie most use in an AJAX implementation. While I think there are great things that are achieved with this, XHR is still NOT a standard (see status and help changing it), and so several web browsers does not support it. Using it is taking usability off your web application.
  5. Another example of bad usability is taken from an example of "good usability" given on R/WW: NetVibes. You say they have great usability, but their website says:
    We currently support Mozilla Firefox 1+, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Opera 9.02, Safari 2+.
    I'm sorry, but if you only support some web browers, then you do not have usability.
Now, I could be hours ranting about this, but I think that it's kind of useless. People are still exited with Web 2.0, so excited that they don't really care. And while they don't care, you can tell them whatever that they won't listen to you.

If you're a Web 2.0 developer and really care about usability, please, PLEASE, prove me wrong. I would love to see, for instance, more people working with W3C.

17.5.07

Say No to DRM+Disney+Gonzales

On Friday May 25th, around the world and at a theater near you, Disney launch "Pirates of the Caribbean, at World's End". It's time to head to your local theater and help in educating the movie going public to what Disney, Hollywood, MPAA, AACSLA, HD-DVD, illegal hex codes, and disgraced US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, all have in common. Get your friends together, get the suits, and join the fun.

Buy your own DRM Elimination Crew Suit for $5 now!

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End, is a movie about a diverse community coming together to fight the far reaching and oppressive East India Trading Company to preserve their freedom loving lifestyle (sound kind of familiar?)

Do you like to get creative editing video? How about adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean movie trailer, that you can find on most video sharing sites, to tell the real story about DRM? Send us a link to your effort and we will highlight it on DefectiveByDesign.org - with prizes for the best.

Get started now! Contact your friends and place your order for DRM Elimination Crew suits to ensure that they arrive on time. We've gotten the price down to just $5 a suit, so order a few and get your Crew together for the 25th.

Background:

On Monday, US Attorney General Gonzales called on Congress to enact a sweeping new bill entitled the "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007" (IPPA) that would amongst other things:

  • Increase penalties for circumventing a DRM scheme
  • Criminalize "attempting" to infringe copyright
  • Permit more wiretaps for investigating copyright violations
  • Add penalties for "intended" copyright crimes

This proposed legislation is a result of Hollywood's lobbying, serving their special interests at the expense of the public good. As we have seen, thanks to the recent events like the Digg revolt, the public have turned against DRM. The illegal hex code that can be used to remove the DRM from HD-DVD can now be found on over a million web pages. But this isn't deterring Hollywood yet.

Hollywood are attempting to scare us all into accepting DRM. Now is the time to take action!

As you know, Disney is a leading supporter of DRM in video and movies and a proponent of the permanent extension of copyright, sometimes called the "Mickey Mouse Act". Disney is founding members of AACSLA, the organization that license the HD-DVD DRM scheme. They are a driving force behind the MPAA and one of the main instigators of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - that makes circumventing a DRM scheme a crime.

Join with DefectiveByDesign.org members around the world to send a message to Hollywood and Disney at the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean.

It's easy: get a few friends together, order some DRM Elimination Crew Packs, check your local listings and go have some fun at the worldwide launch! Together we'll explain to movie goers what DRM is, why it is bad, and how we can secure a future without DRM. Take some pictures and post them to Flickr where we can draw attention to them. Or take some video and share it with us, or through a video sharing site. Have fun and be creative.

If you're in Portugal, you might be interested in joining the Portuguese contestation!

AACS probably having a stroke... now

Do you see this report of AnyDVD working with the latest Matrix movies? Well it means that AACS v3, to be released next tuesday, has already been cracked. So, what will they do now? Ban the news about that from the internet, kill those who cracked it and pray that no one else manages to do the same? Or quick-release AACS v4 wednesday? Obviously the only solution for them is to quit using DRM schemes. They're defective by design, and will never work... Of course that thinking that companies like Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Warner, IBM, Toshiba or Sony do quit of something just because they realise it doesn't work isn't exactly realistic, right?

Let's see what will the next episode on this DRM novella be.

Read here more about this.

PS -> AACS are the guys trying to take the string 09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0 out of the Internet.

16.5.07

Amazon announces DRM-free music store

ArsTechnica and Mashable are reporting that Amazon announced an upcoming DRM-free music store, being the first well-stablished brand to do a completely DRM-free online store. I still doubt that their store is going to be better than others like Amie Street, but will at least have a way bigger catalog.

MySpace bans 23HQ

After buying the photo-sharing site PhotoBucket, now MySpace is banning the alternatives. Images from 23HQ included there no longer show, being replaced by ". .". Well thank you very much MySpace, but I won't change from 23HQ to other service just because of you.

Open Letter to Trent Reznor

Dear Trent Reznor,

I've read your words, and I agree with you, I really do. I also think that record labels are getting more and more desperate, and they're are screwing music lovers more and more. I agree that "Year Zero" is way to expensive, and I agree with the fact that Interscope Records, ownerd by Universal Music Group, don't give a damn about their artists and their artists fans - those who give them money. Oh, and the concept of MAXI-singles? You're right, it's completely bullshit, a product designed to extort more money from those wanting to get access to art.

The point is, you say that you're trying your best to make sure the products that NIN puts in the marketplace are worth purchasing, but you're failing miserably. Why? Well, while I really think it's awsome (and having the label you have you surely show you also have balls) all the Year Zero's concept and the whole world built around it, awsome that you're going to give for free to your fans, one way or another, all Year Zero's songs, and I really think you understand that goes inside the mind of your fans... You criticize your record label, but you're still sticking with them. For me, any product you put in the marketplace under Interscope aren't worth buying, even for one cent. It's plain simple, I don't support Universal in any way, so I don't give them money, while you criticize them but still put money in their pockets. Those guys don't consider your work as art, but as products, and they don't give a damn about you or your fans, they only care about profit. That's way too obvious when you know that they want to minimize consumers freedoms to maximize their profit. I'm sorry, but being signed with a major, the message you're passing is that, while you don't like your label's attitude, you prefer dealing with it and make more money than being nice to your fans.

Are you really against Interscope and Universal as you look like? Please, do a favor to your fans (and yourself): go indie. You'll even sleep better.

15.5.07

Merankorii: Sanguine (CD) is OUT NOW!

As many of you know by know, I have an experimental/dark ambient musical project named "Merankorii". Well, today Merankorii's 4th album has been released, in a split CD released with Bardic Wisdom.

Merankorii

Read this for more info: Merankorii: Sanguine (CD) is OUT NOW!

11.5.07

The worst blind man

Completely ridiculous, insane. "DRM" gives people thoughts of bad things, it has a bad connotation. But if you stop and think on "why?" you'll easilly see that it is because DRM is bad for consumers, so it's preety simple to understand that they don't like DRM...

A way to try to circunvent that is to sell DRM with another name - Microsoft pioneered it when, with other companies, decided to create the Trusted Computing Group, and the definition of "Trusted Computing": DRM with a a preetier name. For someone that doesn't know what it is, the name inspires to be something cool, right?

Now, it seems that history is repeating itself, and HBO's Zitter says that the problem with DRM is its name, so its issues would be solved if DRM changed its name to "DCE" (Digital Consumer Enablement): same shit, different smell.

What he fails to understand is that, even if people buy loads of smelly shit just because they don't know how does the thing they're buying suck, eventually they will know, and it will happen all over again. If you don't want to have your consumers being mad at you, stop trying to put shit into their mouths.

The worst blind man is the one who doesn't want to see.

The wealth of the music industry

For those out there (including RIAA) that are allways whining about how much CD sails are falling, and how piracy are leaving them starving, here are some numbers:
In North America, the music business will total $26.5 billion in 2011, growing at an average annual rate of 2.8% from $23.1 billion in 2006. Recorded music revenues will remain flat as declining CD sales cancel out the sharp gains in digital sales. Music publishing and live music will grow.

In one dramatic example, live tours were once used as marketing vehicles to promote recordings, but today that model is being flipped on its head as increasing numbers of top-tier and mid-level acts earn more income from concerts than from CD sales.
Read the complete article here.

10.5.07

Open Source Cinema

Open Source Cinema


Open Source Cinema is "a collaborative documentary project to create a feature film about copyright in the digital age". Which is great - not only you can have a role into making an actual movie, to be released in 2008, free with a Creative Commons license, but that aims to be in the movie theatres, but also the theme - basicly about the fact that art wants to be free. I could talk a lot about this, like others did, but instead I'll just recommend you to check out their website or at least watch the trailer.

9.5.07

Web Music Services for bands - revisited

I've talked about this before, but the social web is developing fast and well, so there are news on the field... So let me revisit the topic, and talk a little about the "new web music services for bands".

I'm going to list five services that can help bands promote themselves, and fans to easily access to their favourite bands and even help them. Here they are:

ReverbNation is a newcomer on this blog. Basicly, ReverbNation started last October as yet another music social network, in the vein of services like PureVolume. The thing is that since they started they didn't stop adding new features, some of them really cool for artists. But what makes them start this list is a feature that they don't yet have but will do in July: an ad revenue sharing program for their artists, called “Fair Share”. With this, fans are giving to their artists money each time they visit the artist webpage and specially when clicking in the ads presented there. Alternative sources of incoming are allways cool, right?

Then, another newcomer. Poptopus isn't a music social network, or something that lets bands have pages. Instead, they make widgets with songs submited by artists, and that widgets contain ads. That means that a blogger, for instance, can have a music player with songs of his choice in its website, and the revenue from the ads in there are splited between the blogger, the artist of the tracks presented there, and Poptopus, of course. Once again, yet another source of incoming. Their closed beta is going to start soon.

Then, we're back to those I've already talked about. GrooveShark is getting bigger and better day by day, even if still in Alpha. I'm still swapping e-mails with them and plan to have a new blog post about it soon enough, but the concept is good: a legal p2p music network where you're paid to share and artists whose tracks are shared too.

SellABand also keeps going on, and are, at least, a very successful case of an indie label - after all in less than an year they've managed to launch several bands albums and compilations, besides organizing events - for instance. Here listeners pay to give the bands a chance to release an album, and after they can make money out of it.

Last.fm continues to be awsome, a great way for a band to expose themselves if well exploited. They're experiencing a boom of users now that Pandora is enforcing their users to be located in the United States, yet there are rumours of Viacom wanting to buy them which are no good news.

Also, I'm curious about two new services that might be quite interesting: We7 and Playable. When more info on those are announced, I'll surely let you know...

Archiving music


This post is more a rant than really a question asking for your input, but if you're willing to reply I really appreciate.

The question is simple - how do you archive your music? As you know if you read this blog regularly, I've moved a couple of days ago. Since I've only bought new music today, since then, I hadn't yet unpacked my music collection, since I knew I would get into trouble once I did it. Well, with eleven new CD's I had to unwrap at least the main CD shelf in order to archive them, and then the issues arised all over again. See, I think that I have a quite nice way of organising my music: I moved from Coimbra to Lisbon less than two years ago and with me only came those CD's that absolutely had to come. When I moved from Carnaxide (the first place where I was, in Lisbon) to Laranjeiras (where I stood until a few days ago) lots of music went to Lamego and Coimbra. So, with me there's only a part of my music, and that's the part I'm interested in archiving properly. So, I have music roughly in four different formats: digital (mp3, ogg, whatever), CD, Vinyl and Cassette Tapes. Since I don't really care about the music I have digitally I simply don't archive it more than having a ~/music that has one folder per band, with its tracks inside. When I like something enough to be afraid of loosing it, then I buy it physically. Meaning I don't backup ~/music in anyway, and sometimes I even delete random folders in it, since those are the Gb's in my hard drive there's no real loss in deleting: even Monday I had a "not enough space on the device), so I went to Amarok, ordered those tracks by user rating and just deleted the less-rated ones until I had a comfortable enough percentage in df -h|grep hda|cut -d" " -f21 . I have only a few vinyls here in Lisbon, so they're also easily ordered - alphabetically per band, chronologically for records of the same band. With the tapes I have bands ordered by "interest" (something like "what I listen more times first"), chronologically for tapes of the same band. Now... the BIG issue are CD's. I won't even discuss this part: all CD's of the same band must be together and ordered chronologicly. How else would I find a specific Marilyn Manson CD, for instance, between the 71 I have from that band and plus having all those randomly mixed between other artists CD's? But, how to order the bands? Alfabeticly makes to sense really (it's almost the same as random) since some bands have nothing to do with others. I simply don't want my Claw Finger CD's (yes, I have some, do you want to buy'em?) which I don't hear anymore near my Cranes CD's I'm often listening to! They don't match in nothing but the first letter of the band... So, how to order them? Musical style? Heck, most of my CD's have a hard-to-define musical style, I wouldn't know how to do that - how strict or generic should I be? Per label? It makes some sense: almost all CD's of the same label are on the same vein (for indies, of course), but some bands started in one label and went to other and other... And then, should still make sense to order by band? For those labels you have a big percentage of their catalog (I'm thinking on my Prophecy CD's) it might make sense, since you can follow not only a progression of one or other band, but an whole movement of the bands that had a role in it, but in labels from who you don't have the complete catalog it makes no real sense... But, with all this questions... What am I used to do? Well, I simply mix a bit of everything described here, never breaking a band's discography, and ordering it by "what have been my mood lately". Of course that it makes me frustrated, because sometimes I glance at one point and then to a distant other and think "Hey, do I really like Skrol that much more than Autumn's Grey Solace?". Oh well... But the worst of all is when you have an weirdly packed CD (like now - where do I put this 2CD digipack? I'll have to move all this band to another place 'cause this CD won't simply fit in this shelf...) and specially... compilations. Heck what do you do with the compilations? If the compilation is not that good the solution is easy: for instance, if you got that CD because of that one track, and the others aren't as good, you just put that compilation as making part of the band's discography. But what if the complete compilation, or almost every track in it, is awsome? Where will I put this CD that has tracks from both Tenhi, Antimatter, Elend and Empyrium?

Boy, being a music lover is hard!

8.5.07

What makes a VW really a VW?

Terra Nova has an excelent blog post, specially because of the comments, on "what should a Virtual World have to become better than WOW and Second Life in a way you would never go back".

Obviously he was not talking about the upcoming "World of Starcraft", and while I don't find them the VW, there are some alternatives coming there that are in all ways better (or so it seems for now) than those two (take Darkfall Battle as an example).

Yet, that post also gave me a new way of looking to VW's by looking into those items that I'm naming as "requisites to make a Virtual World into a really Virtual World". Let me get them for you:

  • A World - a defined space which existence is independent of the existence of the players, persistent, and with physics
  • Players - that operate within the physics, and that represent one virtual individual (avatar)
  • Interaction between players
  • Interaction with the world
  • Reaction to the world's changes
  • Concept of time, equal to all players and the world
And then I had all kind of thoughs on this issues, some of them possibly to be explored in future posts here. You might find these self-evident, but they are not: these, for instance, include talkers as "really VW's" (we should get a name for this), and exclude GuildWars as a VW.

7.5.07

EMI might be bought... and not by Warner

After EMI start selling DRM-free tracks on iTunes, Warner decided they wanted to buy EMI (again), claiming that they would do it to stop them from selling DRM-free music. There was a $4.1 billion rejected takeover bid, so they decided to approach shareholders instead.

News now tell us that there are three diferent US private equity firms wanting to buy EMI, which replied giving them until May 23 to present their plans. The offer is in the order of $5.9 billion, but the motives behind the interest are indisclosured yet... Let's see if this is good news or not.

Spokeo.com has relaunched as Hypeit.com

Here's an e-mail everyone with an account in Spokeo.com recieved:


Dear Spokeo/Hypeit users,

We have refocused our site from a social news reader to a community
centered on sharing interesting stories. Everyday we discover great
articles, photostreams, and videos from ordinary contributers. We
invite you to join our quest to discover more and more amazing content
outside of main media.

We have changed our name to Hypeit.com to reflect this new focus. The
functionality of Spokeo.com has been are retained and improved. Your
data is still closely protected.

If you have imported an account, we now require ownership verification
before May 11th. This will prevent others from improperly hijacking
your profile. All unverified content ownerships will be deassociated
on May 11th.

Thank you for all your support. If you have any questions, feel free
to contact me at harrison@hypeit.com at any time.

Sincerely,
Harrison

Norwegian Liberal Party wants to update IP laws

At the 14th of April, in the Norwegian Liberal Party Congress, they stated that the copyright laws are outdated, and thus proposed several changes, like:

  • File sharing should be free;
  • Sampling should be free;
  • The commercial copyright life span should be shortened;
  • DRM should be banned.
Read more about this here. I wonder if they'll take this to their parliment... I surely agree with their core points, and would love to see a similar movement here in Portugal.

4.5.07

Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo!

According to NY Post, Microsoft is trying to buy Yahoo!, in a move that speculation sees as to make a force against Google dominancy in some markets. It makes a lot of sense to me Microsoft wanting this, but I surely hope Yahoo! to fight against it. And if Microsoft manages to buy Yahoo!... It will be a sad day.

More on the HD-DVD and BluRay enc. key

No, I didn't trip over or coded a random string generator to get the string that this article avoids to say: 09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0 . This is not an act of freedom of speech. That is not a random string.

09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0 is a key that is used circumvent digital rights management (DRM) technology on HD-DVD discs. An AACS executive said it was looking at "legal and technical tools" to confront those who published the key, and since I did, and am doing again, now I say "come and get me". See, you still want to "prevent the leak of the key", but it has already leaked, there's no way back. As someone said, trying to take this string out of the internet is the same as trying to take a piss out of a pool. AACS claims that

"But a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention. You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then."


I'm sorry, but I'm not distributing no key nor tool. I'm saying that the string 09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0 can be used to crack your stupid and defective technology.

So what now, you want to sue me? Come and get me.

3.5.07

Vacations

I've been thinking on writting this for a couple of hours ago, but it was "Are You Gone?", the song from Cranes that I'm listening now that made be start to write it. For various reasons I wanted to write something like this, but this music adds something else. I've heard Cranes for the first time with Catarina, a very good friend of mine (about whom I've already wrote about in this blog) that is no longer with us.

Are You Gone? I have countless memories of you, lot's of thoughts that make me laugh while a tear runs on my face. Thoughts, but like the pictures that I no longer have, memories can't be touched, can't be teached. I'm undoubtly a product of you, you made me be what I am. And those are the parts of me that I like.

But a person is more than his thoughs and oppinions: he is every cigar he smokes, every coffee he takes, every book he reads, every song he listens to. I'm on vacations - 7 non-work weeks in a row, and I've decided to give you - to the world, to everyone, a small log of what I've been doing on those days. Even just for the fun of it, you can read it and learn something more about myself, about the person behind this posts. You can also ignore, go to the next post, and imagine I never wrote this. There's no loss, only potential gain.

Day 0 (24)


Well, today I still worked, but since I went off the office I felt like vacations, so it's day 0 for me. Not that I'm very excited with this vacations, I have a lot to do. Went dinner with a couple of friends in Avenida, near a theatre where they went to see one movie from "Indie Lisboa", an independent movies festival. Came by subway till home and started packing. I'm changing (probably the lack of excitement comes from this) since I have this room only rented until the end of the month, and I'm looking to find an appartment to buy, so, in between, I'll crash here and there (hopefully one place will suffice) and I'm starting with my sisters' house. So, and since I wanted to go to Coimbra still tomorrow, I started packing. Three hours later I've packed something like 10%, the easy 10. I can't even think about how am I going to pack my music collection (this makes me think that buying hundreds of CD's and even some Vinyl discs have downsides too), books and clothes... I feel I'm basicly fucked up. Well, it's late and I've stopped to write for more time than I should - let's go back to packaging stuff.

Something like two hours later... I have something like half the room packed up, made a pile of closed boxes that is bigger than myself. I'm tired, really tired. Need to go to the street twice to dispose garbage, take a long bath and sleep.

Day 1 (25)


My head hurts. Got to start doing something useful, it's half past noon. I'm basicly fucked up - had a discussion by phone amd the deal I had to buy an houseappartement is no more. It's a feeling of loss, not only it was going to be a good deal but I lost something like two months because of that appartement. Oh well, I'll have to buy the one in the next building... But first, let me start with this moving to my sis' thing.

12:17 - time to turn off the computer and stop listening to music. I hate packing.

And so it went, I've packed and packed and moved the first boxes before lunch, then packed and packed until I could finaly leave the old house. No goodbyes, no sorrow, and I'll not miss any of it. The keys are given, I'm now officialy crashing at my sisters'. The worse of it was that, in between, hell started and only ended when I knew that the deal I had to buy a house is no more. There's a backup plan, of course, and I'll soon start trying to buy another house I had already envisioned. I did the path from my sister's appartment to my workplace (a new one, too) and back to know how much will it take (40 minutes), since I'm planning to do it by walk everyday, much like I used to while in the previous workplace. Two apples after, I was heading to Coimbra, where I had dinner. At night I went to cha0s' home and stayed there to brainstorm a bit on some of his and our projects. That allways feels good, too bad we don't manage to do this more often, if we did we would certaintly feel more fulfilled in our achievements... But, well, it's now 02:22 and it's time to play around a bit with the computer and then go to sleep. While walking home I was, as usually, reading my Planet (via cellphone) and read about a new service called "OurStage". I wanted to try it, but I'm having completely no luck in trying to connect to the internet via GPRS. Tomorrow's going to be another day...

Day 2 (26)


Woke up already tired, and went to DEEC where I spend the day with Paula: where I was casually surfing the web and doing almost nothing more than that while she was working. The casual interlude was at lunch time when we went to lunch in the FCTUC facilities in Polo II. It went quite well, too bad she's slightly sick, hopefully nothing big. I went to dinner with my sister and ended renting here appartment for the time being, until I get my own home. Now I came to Tropical and decided to write this until NomadWolf and subv3rsion don't come - I agreed to met them here to talk for a while. I'm tired, so I guess I'll be sleeping soon.

Day 3 (27)


Spent the day with Paula.

Day 4 (28)


Slept only two hours, and then went to DEI to attend to takeoff (see the "coverage" I did on the event). After it, I went dinner with Paula and some of her friends. Now I came back home and I'm going to try to sleep.

Rest of days...


I had quit to write this and decided not to publish it. Then I had some second thoughts. Anyway, the rest of the days were spent with less-than-the-needed sleep, valuable time with Paula and also with cha0s with whom I've planned some stuff to be done in the upcoming months. I also spent some time with other people I didn't see for a long time, like Spellbound. Then I came back to Lisbon, but I still have a lot to unpack and to do here until I can call this "home". Went to work, and after it I spent the time looking for an appartement on sale, which was an huge waste of time, and that made me arrive at my sis' almost at 1a.m.. Now now, I have stuff to do and than sleep.

How useless is this post? Hmm, maybe I should start rethinking my blogging habbits...

2.5.07

09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0

09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0

Piss off the MPAA, write 09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0 everywhere.

09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0

This is the string you need to crack HD-DVD, a defective by design technology.

Know more about this here.