Busy Times

My "busy times" continue, and I don't expect to recover from my "blog posts scarcity" in the next following months: I'll have some vacations next month, but I intend to use those days to rest, and avoid using a computer... Of course, you can keep track of what I've been doing via FriendFeed, a tool I'm now addicted to, to the point of having replaced my regular RSS reader by it. But there are still some news I want to talk about:

There's a new ARG comming out, and I'm eager to try it, play it or at least keep track of it. I'm talking about Deleted: The Game - an ARG centered in a female vlog'er that moved to NYC and met a guy that is funding a startup that aims to protect its costumers from identity theft... Seems realy fun.

There's a new DNS flaw out there, so if you're a system administrator and have to maintain some DNS servers, you must check it out. It's grave, and you most probably are affected.

Some music-related news: a piece on a particular music retailer, that sells music for USA prisions, shows the real impact new technologies have on the music market, since this guy doesn't have any of those problems. Curious how he sells more Cassettes than CDs, and how his major problem nowadays is the fact that less stuff is released in this format.

After a discussion on a private mailing list about the fact that it is almost impossible to buy a computer without having to buy Windows, even if you don't want it (and if it is right or wrong, if it should be considered bundling or not, and if governments should put a hand on the issue or let markets work for themselves), a new story about someone buying a laptop and then forcing the vendor to return the software money appeared. This time it was an HP laptop with Windows Vista, which wasn't used by the buying since he didn't agreed with its User Agreement.

Regarding to events, I'm planning to go to Aveiro for DebianDayPT 2008, then to Coimbra for BarCamp Portugal 2008, and then to Amsterdam in September to attend to IBC 2008. I'll probably have to miss SHiFT 2008 here in Lisbon in October, but it promises to be a hell of a conference, and you should check it out.

NATO has included ODF in its list of mandatory standards to promote interoperability. NATO's standards list includes RTF, XML, but not OOXML, Microsoft's direct competitor to ODF, which is currently undergoing a controversial ISO certification process. Observers say that the Dutch Defence Ministry threw its weight behind ODF. The public sector in the Netherlands expressly supports open standards and open source.

Against experts' recommendations, against innovation, fairness, artists and consumers, EU decided that copyright should be extended to 95 years after death. This is still no final decision, and there's a lot of work to do in order to prevent this.

Finaly, the European directive I called "Big Brother directive" back in 2005, was now implemented in Portugal, making it the second European country (after Sweden) to implement it. Now, every Portuguese "comunication service" provider has three months to prepare everything to comply with the law and start spy and logging their costumers comunications. Or switch countries.


  1. Anonymous11:42 PM

    A correction about the three months to implement. It's three months after another "portaria" is approved/published (refer to a paragraph near the end of the law). It's not three month from last week ("now").

  2. Thanks koko, you're obviously right, it's three months after the publication of the legal document that describes the technical and security conditions the data has to be recorded.

  3. Hi Marcos,

    Just to be very clear about your NATO and Open XML piece:
    NATO’s policy remains one of multiple formats as indicated in http://nhqc3s.nato.int/architecture/_docs/NISPv2/volume2/ch03s04.html ODF is just listed as an acceptable interoperability format just like ascii, rtf, pdf, office formats,... The list dates from February so it was too early to include ISO/IEC 29500.

    NATO uses different versions of Microsoft Office including 2007

    NATO works with Microsoft on security guidance for Vista and Office 2007: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/guidance/clientsecurity/2007office/tandc/default.mspx

    NATO is a member of the IEC Interop council and has been very supportive in interoperability discussions, including Office and Open XML. http://www.ncsa.nato.int/news/2007/2007_07.htm

    NATO uses SharePoint for document handling system: http://www.logica.com/getting+the+system+in+order%3a+logica+implements+document+management+solution+for+nato/400011979

  4. Marcos: you're obviously right - things still aren't perfect (I know, it depends on the point of view, and yourse is obviously different than mine), but it's really good news that they're now supporting real open standards. It's great to see that NATO "has been very supporting on interoperability discussions", and - as they say in the link you provide - they have needs of internal and external digital communication. I'm glad to see that they're looking to Open Standards as a vehicle to achieve that interoperability. I hope the next step is replacing the usage of Microsoft Office propriety formats by those same open standards.

  5. It’s from different points of view that each of us gets more “richer”!

    Regarding NATO’s or any other organization, it’s up to them to make that decision, having in consideration all the important aspects (budget, previous investments, data integrity and others).

  6. Pedro Silva1:11 AM

    "It’s from different points of view that each of us gets more “richer”!"

    Meaning: It's from being complete hypocrites that some of us get more richer!

  7. Sorry Marcos, but regarding NATO - as any other organization that *belongs* to its country members - it's up to each of those governments to make that decision, one that is good for each of its country members. I would say, for instance, that it isn't of interest of the European Member states to keep being clients of Microsoft while that company keeps extending the antitrust case...