29.12.10

Year Of Linux On Desktop?

Every year we read about "the year of Linux on Desktop", but those articles always seem to fail to explain how do they measure it. What does have to happen for us to definitively say "this is the year of Linux"?

Here's some data...

Market share growth from November 2009 to November 2010:

Micrsoft OS's: -02.77% 
Apple OS's:    +30.86% 
Linux:         +53.00% 
(using this statistics as a data source)

I don't know what "Year Of Linux On Desktop" means, but I, for one, see a winner in 2010: Linux.

16.12.10

"Piracy" - the polls are over.

I'm taking the polls regarding alleged copyright infringement down. After what happened, the votes got back to be on Google. And they were messed up again. I was suspecting something for a long time, but now here's "proof":

Screenshot of the results, taken in September:

and today (December):

 votes are disappearing, huh?

Well, I don't really care anymore, I assume my point as taken. If anyone wants to dispute the results, well, I really would like them to make a "real poll", and study this seriously.

For the record, the results are:
  • 18% don't do so-called "piracy"
  • 2% would buy everything they "pirate", if they couldn't pirate it
  • 54% would buy some of the things they "pirate"
  • 16% "pirate" stuff but they wouldn't buy it otherwise anyway
So, for one of the possible uses of this numbers... remember: being the most conservative possible, 34% of the population aren't "taking money from artists", in any possible sense.

30.11.10

Security Flaw on MySpace affects one million users

After waiting for a resolution (which didn't happen) and ranting online about it (which had no effect), at the 25th of November I sent this bug report on MySpace:

According to Wikipedia[1], more than 1% of web users use a resolution of 800x600 or less on their web browsers. If those users come to MySpace, they'll be able to log in, but not to sign out (because the "Sign Out" button will be always not visible).

As you can understand, this is an huge security flaw, which MySpace must solve as soon as possible. As it is, it would better not let them log in than forcing them sto stay logged in.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution#Current_standards

Since until now I've got no reply, I'm posting this in the hopes that the issue gets more exposure. Wanna help? Please send yourself a similar bug report, and spread the word!

19.10.10

Mamnuts and PyTalker are dead, long live TZMud!

I had several choices, really. I could choose to undertake the huge task of fixing Mamnuts (actually throwing away most of the underlying NUTS-inherited code), but it was simply too much work. Or I could take PyTalker by the horns and just make its idea work - which had an estimated amount of man-hours quite inferior to the first option. But... what about maintaining and expanding it afterwords? One of the issues with PyTalker would be that, as soon as a working version was released, I would have to work on implementing each feature Mamnuts had, to be able to have a convincing argument against the usage of Mamnuts, leaving to the side the only unarguable preference: the common "but I prefer C to Python!" (and, really, there's lots of people saying that in the talkers world, imagine that!). I hoped to find a good team to do the job with me, but others would find even less time than me to dedicate to the job. It wouldn't work. Sigh. Well, I would have to do it by myself... with the use of nice Python frameworks. And, while looking at those and who contributed to what, I just saw that there was a third, quite more interesting option: get back to the origins - now without configurability limitations - and assume once and for all that a talker is a kind of MUD with certain particularities. And so, the best way to deal with my issue was, really, find out the best configurable, well-maintained, clean, active, secure, with a nice community MUD codebase, and try to just add the configurable options needed to turn a MUD codebase into a "MUD/Talker codebase", or, in fact, a MUD with a configuration option that would let you set it up to behave like your typical talker, with just something like

allow_utf8 = True
speechmode_default = True
talkmode = True
Now, guess what... that's exactly what you need to do to turn the MUD codebase "TZMud" into a talker. That's right: TZMud is a server to host a multi-user domain (MUD) in the tradition of LPMud, but implemented in the Python programming language, and, since it's 0.9 version, with a configurable option to turn it into a NUTS-like talker.

This is also, obviously, the time to say goodbye to PyTalker and Mamnuts. Don't be sad: you'll be probably able to find me lurking on the TZMud project. And, most importantly, if you're planning on running a talker (or running one already), switch to TZMud. It lacks lot's of features, that's for sure, but that is easily fixed: just open a ticket asking for what you're missing. Feel free to contribute with code, if you can, the project maintainers are quite open and happy to review/accept your code.

This is the last blog post on Mamnuts' website.

1.10.10

Happy Music Day! Here's how to celebrate...

Today is the International Music Day, and here are my suggestions for you on how to celebrate it... by giving you the info about 10 free (and legal) downloadable albums:

20th March 2010

Today is a day to celebrate Music, but there's an "event" that celebrates music monthly. On the 20th of each month, musicians all over the world are invited to create, compose, interpret and record one song. That means no ideas from beforehand; no writing, performing, recording, mixing, mastering of the track before or after that day. For those who like the concept but don't know how to make music, you can also contribute by making the artwork for one of the month's editions. Today, I'm leaving you the link to "20th March 2010", a double CD showing you what this artists do in one day, and what do they do when they're not limited to 24 hours.

Aural Apocalypse September 15th, 2010
After a monthly celebration, an weekly one. Aural Apocalypse isn't a propper release, but an weekly podcast, allways with great music (mainly Neofolk, Dark Ambient, Neo-Classical and Medieval) and witty comments, including "news of the apocalypse" and a bit of history in the first episode of each month. That's right, this is one of my tasks for every wednesday... The episode I'm recommending you is the one that features for the first time my music (one Ambiansu track), and also refers Noori Records. But, if you like it, don't forget to check out every other episode, this is great stuff indeed.

2 Years Of Torture Compilation
But the international music day is not weekly nor monthly, it's yearly. Another yearly usual happening is for record labels to celebrate their own aniversaries. On February 11, 2010, Love Torture Records turned 2 years old. To celebrate, they have put together this amazing compilation, which I here leave for those who are fans of heavier/harsher sounds. Music styles found here greatly vary, but they are mainly experimental, electronic, avantgarde and noise tracks.

Noori Records 2009 sampler
And after the previous item, I had to show you another yearly label release, this time not to celebrate the label's aniversary, but to celebrate one year of releases. This is the Noori Records 2009 sampler, a lot softer release than what you'll get in the previous recommendation, with Merankorii playing "dark-ambient Jazz", Betray-Ed with its neofolk, +ko+ko+ with their industrial dark ambient, and Ambiansu with two experimental tracks. Every of this bands have more freely available music, so if you like any of them, just follow the links to their own websites...

Various Artists - Falésia 3
Still in the "label compilations", but this one is different: Enough Records (a really nice Portuguese netlabel you should get familiar with if you aren't already) decided to make a compilation devoted to Portuguese projects surrounding the dark ambient genre neighbourhood. After the success of the first and the second, they ended up doing a third (and possibly the latest). This one includes projects like Dyman, Sektor 304, Ambiansu and +ko+ko+. After listening to this, and if you like it, don't forget to check the first Falésia (3 CDs worth of material) and the second one (2 more CDs).

Zero Is Enough
Also from Enough Records, and also in the dark ambient vein, even if with more cinematic elements, comes "Zero Is Enough", a mixtape I made using only Enough-released free music, scanned from the complete catalog, from the earlier releases to the latest stuff. This mix tape is a special made for the RadiaLX event organized by the free radio "Rádio Zero", and was aired (online and offline) for the first time on that event. The excelent cover artwork was made Francisco Noá, in his first collaboration with Enough Records.

Do What Thou Will
Another compilation that is, in itself, a celebration of music, is "Do What Thou Will", a ritualistic compilation created out of the concept of "doing what thou will" using as the starting point an 11 minutes unprocessed and raw acoustic piece of ritualistic sounds, created by "Akoustik Timbre Frekuency". The result is simply this: 333 minutes in 35 tracks and 2 videos, by the artists invited by ATF...

Nouvel Ordre Mondial [A Tribute to Ministry]
Another kind of free compilation, this time a tribute. Ministry was a well known industrial band with 27 years of carreer, until its mentor Al Jourgensen decided to retire the band in 2008. It's discography had many phases, from its initial EBM and experimental Synthpop, passing from thrash, until the latest releases in a more metal vein. But if you think its discography has many styles and variations, you have to listen to what other artists decided to do with its compositions for this tribute: from the almost neo-classical piece from Patient to the thrash metal from the Evolutionary Armageddon covers, you have here something of all - an interesting tribute album in many aspect, and a must-have for Ministry fans.

Meranata
But if sometimes several artists join together to celebrate the tracks of another band on a tribute, some other times bands just decide to enjoy and play with each other tracks. This album is such a case. TVK netlabel invited Merankorii and Nata "to rework tracks from each others back catalog in any way they saw fit resulting in the split release (in more ways than one) that is MERANATA. This is what happened in the aftermath of that experiment. Two very different approaches, but with much common ground."

Necktar 2017 volume 2
"Necktar 2017 volume 2" is a futuristic/electronic compilation with 92 tracks and more than 8 hours of music. It intends to be "A mere journey through time, the great work of anachronistic alchemists, the apiary of a network of precognitifs... Difficult to define Necktar 2017, till the first cycle is not achieved. Currently it is a compilation of hors norme (not normal) music for free sharing, articulated in several thematic episodes. For know what it will be ultimately, unless we can travel through time, it won't be until 2017." In other words, this cycle of compilations intend to be a musical Sci-Fi predictive work, showing us how will be the world in 2017. This "part 2" is concentrated on "Random / Perception / Cycles : Reproduction". This year's volume (part 3) is already in the works, and is going to be about "Macro / Perception / Micro : Evolution".

30.9.10

The Impact of Illegal Downloads On Total Sales

One frequent rant of mine is the fact that there's no credible study about the impact of "illegal downloads" (not my wording) on total sales, and that, yet, there are lots of policies being made based on plain wrong "studies".

Lately, many things are happening (including arguments behind the approval of the Gallo Report) around Tera Consultants' "Study on the impacts of digital piracy on the EU's creative industries" (March 2010). If we carefully read the report (yes, reading more than just the abstract), thou, we find lots of interesting things. For instance, the fact that the study didn't research the "impact of illegal downloads on total sales", but, instead, decided to have a non-scientific approach to find some kinds of "average values" from the eight "relevant studies" on the issue. Well, in fact, they used the summary from those eight relevant studies presented on Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf (2009 - a working draft). And here, I have a couple of things to highlight:

1) Instead of using Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf latest release paper, they decided to use a working draft;
2) Instead of using Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf conclusions (that can be summed up as "file sharing can be blamed for part of recorded music revenue declines, [but] that hasn’t eliminated artists’ incentive to create and consumers have benefited from increased choice"), they decided to use only a decontextualized table from that report;
3) Many flaws were pointed to the Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf research, but let me talk about one: while in their 2005 paper, where they found no negative impact of illegal downloads on total sales, they used their own data, in this new paper - guess what - they used the same as Tera Consultants: a non-scientific approach to find some kinds of "average values" from the eight "relevant studies" on the issue.

So, let's look to those eight "relevant studies":

  • Hui and Png (2003) - If you actually read the article you see that the authors acknowledge that:
    • their data is completely dependent of the piracy numbers provided by the IFPI (mind you, the most interested party)
    • they acknowledge that they ignored the need to research the demand-side externalities positive impact of piracy on sales (as proven to be needed in Conner and Rumelt (1991); Nascimento and Vanhonacker (1988); Shy and Thisse (1999); Takeyama (1994))
    • in the same way, they didn't estimate the positive impact of piracy on sales thanks to means of more effective price discrimination (as proven to be needed in Bakos et al. 1999; Besen and Kirby 1989; Jacob and Ben-Shahar 2002; Liebowitz 1985; Takeyama 1997; Varian 2000)
    • Last, and yet the most important (in my opinion), their study only analyses data until 1998 (that's right, 12 years ago!), and they highlight that this is all data "before Napster" (dare I say, now, "before p2p", "before torrents", "before pirate bay", "before web 2.0", "before social music services", ...), and that's a really important behavioural shift, that probably changed all the ecosystem of illegal downloads and their impact on total sales
    In other words, this study should not be considered;
  • Peitz and Waelbroeck (2003, 2004)
    • they use as data source the IFPI World Report of 2003 that provides industry data from 1998 to 2002. As pointed before, IFPI is the most interested party in influencing the results, so the validity can be argued;
    • they assume, because they don't know how to estimate, that the quality of music (which englobes que quality of the music release - compare, for instance, a signed limited edtion 12'' 2LP with the album in DRM-encumbered 128K digital file...) has no influence in buying habits (assuming, thus, that the number of people who use "piracy" to "try before buy" is zero, which is obviously wrong - simply ask your friends);
    • they assume that each "act of piracy" is equivalent to the loss of a CD sale (which is obviously wrong), and then...
    • they assume that you can do a direct correlation between the rise of usage of p2p networks and the fall in music sales, just because they saw a bigger fall in sales at the same time they saw a fall in music sales
    • They state that with broadband, non-piracy times can be spent doing a number of "replacement activities" other then enjoying music, and so people have less time - thus attention - to the music market. Yet, they fail to try to correlate attention-shift with loss of sales
    • In the "Discussion" section, they point out several flaws on their model (like the fact that they don't measure "intensity" in piracy activities, or that they aren't considering the non-renewal factor (the industry failed - at least until 2004, where the study focus - to keep their renewal cycle, when people were buying the same album in a different format, cassette replacing the vinyl record, CD replacing the cassette or vinyl, we just weren't seeing people buying the album in a DRM-encumbered digital format after having it on CD or a "previous" format) as a cause of loss of sales). Yet, they decide to ignore those observations on their conclusion...
    In other words, this study should not be considered;
  • Zentner (2006) - Now, this is actually an interesting study, it just isn't a good study to taking a conclusion on our particular issue. In fact, as the origin dataset did neither contain information on quantities of music purchased nor on intensities of music downloads, he assumed that it was not directly possible to calculate the impact on record sales, and thus, for that specific part, he decided to assume things (and that's stated quite obviously on the article): "if 15 percent of the population downloads music, if downloaders are twice as likely to buy music than nondownloaders, and if – conditional on buying – downloaders and nondownloaders buy the same quantity of units". Notice that he didn't get inspiration for this assumptions in any study at all.
  • Michel (2006)
    • The author states that "a possible problem with this approach is that computer owners who did not engage in file sharing may have decreased their music purchases for reasons unrelated to file sharing (yet inherent to owning a computer)", which is not considered in this study. As stated previously, it is fair to assume that there is an (unaccounted) percentage of non-sales directly related to this fact;
    • An analysis in this study's "Table 1" suggests that trends and influences greatly vary year by year, possibly in a two-years basis. This is actually why the researcher has data from 1995 until 2003, and yet can only assume a relation between file sharing and CD sales in 2002-2003. Also, in "Table 4" analysis, the author concludes that "the relationship between computer ownership and CD expenditures [, the only relationship being studied in this paper,] weakened from 1998 to 2003. In III.B), the author identifies other four reasons why this paper might not be valid, but the really important thing to quote is in the conclusions section, when the author state, above all, that "results should be used carefully when predicting the long-term viability of the music industry in an environment where record labels (or artists) compete directly with free file-sharing services". While it is arguable what the author means with "long-term", with the previous data we can assume that a) we can identify 2 year cycles, b) in 5 years the relationship weakened, so, if that trend is maintained (which is arguable, but wasn't in Mars' report) nowadays, 7 years later, the relationship might be completely dissipated, so...
    ...taking the previous items in consideration, it is fair conclude from the article data itself that this study can't be considered valid nowadays;
  • Montoro-Pons and Cuadrado-Garcia (2006) - This study doesn't appear anymore in the table in the final version of Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf's paper;
  • Hong (2004, 2008) - This study was centred only and exclusively on the impact of Napster in 2000. As stated before, and shown by the other papers, we can't infer the current correlation between "piracy" and music sales from some event that happened a decade ago;
  • Leibowitz (2008) - the conclusion of this paper, and on Oberholzer-Gee & Strumpf's paper, is quite different from what's presented by Mars' study: in fact it concludes that if we consider all markets (where the universe was 89 different US markets), we cannot relate internet usage with changes in music sales;
  • Leung (2009) - This is a nice study made by using data from college students of seven different undergraduate classes (from the tone of the paper, I'm assuming this is on USA, but I'm not sure). We're talking about heavy music consumers with no money (they buy four or five digital tracks per month, and one CD every two months). The study implicitly also shows, while it's not its focus, that those students would buy more if they had more money (or if the cost of CDs, iTunes tracks and iPods was less than it is). So, I'll argue that this is a nice study but only representative of a small subset of the global "pirate" reality, specially different from the EU reality, where we have differences like the fact that more than 40% of our countries don't have access to the iTunes music store. Actually, I can go ever further, and tell you my belief (no, I don't have any study showing I'm right or wrong, that's the real issue on this blog post...) that, since you can see that this college students consume nowadays much more music than others (for instance, people with 15 more years than them, even if those others have a lot more money) that it was the setting in which they live - including the cultural influences made by the existence of "digital piracy" - that made them such music fans, and when they grow to have more money, they will be better consumers than they are nowadays. In other words, this is a nice study, but one that only proves that there are lots of dimensions to the problem which need to be researched until we can take any scientific conclusion regarding the impact of piracy in music sales.

So, what I have to say about Tera Consultants' study, and everything else that uses it as a base to take a conclusion or decision? Only that I'm really ashamed, as an European citizen, that we pay blind attention to any study, specially studies commissioned by entities like ICC, whose body of members include three of the four major labels.

19.9.10

Evolution of Operating Systems usage

I needed this statistics and I'm sure they're somewhere, but I don't know where. So, I went to Wikipedia which has the updated numbers but not something showing the progress. Fortunately, wiki's have revision history, so it was fairly easy to compile what I wanted. Here it is, for the sake of others (or me) not needing to go to the same hassle again.

Wikipedia page used as a source (by using several different revisions of this document)

Q4   2004 - Windows 96.34%; Apple  3.25%; Linux 0.29%
Q1   2005 - Windows 96.21%; Apple  3.40%; Linux 0.29%
Q2   2005 - Windows 96.10%; Apple  3.50%; Linux 0.31%
Q3   2005 - Windows 96.03%; Apple  3.55%; Linux 0.32%
Q4   2005 - Windows 95.50%; Apple  4.11%; Linux 0.30%
Q1   2006 - Windows 95.29%; Apple  4.30%; Linux 0.31%
Q2   2006 - Windows 95.08%; Apple  4.40%; Linux 0.41%
Q3   2006 - Windows 95.01%; Apple  4.45%; Linux 0.44%
Q4   2006 - Windows 94.10%; Apple  5.41%; Linux 0.38%
Q1   2007 - Windows 93.17%; Apple  6.22%; Linux 0.45%
Q2   2007 - Windows 92.78%; Apple  6.23%; Linux 0.74%
Sep. 2007 - Windows 89.10%; Apple  4.00%; Linux 0.81%
Oct. 2007 - Windows 91.76%; Apple  4.46%; Linux 0.81%
Nov. 2007 - Windows 91.45%; Apple  4.48%; Linux 0.81%
Dec. 2007 - Windows 92.88%; Apple  4.32%; Linux 0.88%
Jan. 2008 - Windows 91.79%; Apple  4.12%; Linux 0.76%
Feb. 2008 - Windows 92.13%; Apple  4.34%; Linux 0.77%
Apr. 2008 - Windows 93.94%; Apple  4.47%; Linux 0.81%
May  2008 - Windows 93.98%; Apple  4.39%; Linux 0.83%
Jun. 2008 - Windows 94.06%; Apple  4.33%; Linux 0.89%
Jul. 2008 - Windows 93.64%; Apple  4.31%; Linux 0.90%
Aug. 2008 - Windows 91.95%; Apple  4.49%; Linux 0.96%
Sep. 2008 - Windows 93.61%; Apple  4.86%; Linux 1.04%
Oct. 2008 - Windows 90.40%; Apple  5.50%; Linux 1.16%
Nov. 2008 - Windows 90.50%; Apple  5.41%; Linux 1.16%
Dec. 2008 - Windows 90.50%; Apple  5.24%; Linux 1.16%
Jan. 2009 - Windows 91.10%; Apple  4.81%; Linux 1.02%
Feb. 2009 - Windows 91.03%; Apple  4.77%; Linux 1.04%
Mar. 2009 - Windows 90.99%; Apple  4.81%; Linux 1.05%
Apr. 2009 - Windows 91.22%; Apple  4.95%; Linux 1.13%
May  2009 - Windows 91.30%; Apple  5.01%; Linux 1.12%
Jun. 2009 - Windows 91.24%; Apple  5.06%; Linux 1.12%
Jul. 2009 - Windows 93.18%; Apple  4.59%; Linux 1.05%
Aug. 2009 - Windows 93.06%; Apple  4.59%; Linux 0.94%
Sep. 2009 - Windows 92.77%; Apple  4.59%; Linux 0.95%
Oct. 2009 - Windows 92.52%; Apple  5.87%; Linux 0.96%
Nov. 2009 - Windows 90.52%; Apple  6.48%; Linux 1.00%
Dec. 2009 - Windows 90.22%; Apple  6.57%; Linux 1.04%
Jan. 2010 - Windows 92.02%; Apple  5.79%; Linux 1.08%
Feb. 2010 - Windows 91.60%; Apple  6.58%; Linux 1.12%
Mar. 2010 - Windows 91.34%; Apple  6.63%; Linux 1.14%
Apr. 2010 - Windows 90.95%; Apple  6.61%; Linux 1.15%
May  2010 - Windows 90.88%; Apple  6.67%; Linux 1.22%
Jun. 2010 - Windows 89.53%; Apple  6.93%; Linux 1.31%
Aug. 2010 - Windows 88.92%; Apple  7.72%; Linux 1.33%
Sep. 2010 - Windows 88.66%; Apple  7.82%; Linux 1.34%
Oct. 2010 - Windows 88.40%; Apple  8.22%; Linux 1.50%
Nov. 2010 - Windows 88.01%; Apple  8.48%; Linux 1.53%
Dec. 2010 - Windows 87.82%; Apple  8.87%; Linux 1.58%
Jan. 2011 - Windows 87.54%; Apple  8.97%; Linux 1.64%
Feb. 2011 - Windows 87.36%; Apple  9.27%; Linux 1.66%
Mar. 2011 - Windows 87.15%; Apple  9.27%; Linux 1.82%
Apr. 2011 - Windows 87.00%; Apple 10.44%; Linux 1.88%
May  2011 - Windows 86.58%; Apple 10.34%; Linux 1.95%
Jun. 2011 - Windows 86.00%; Apple 10.05%; Linux 2.15%
Jul. 2011 - Windows 83.30%; Apple 10.26%; Linux 2.07%
Aug. 2011 - Windows 82.58%; Apple 10.91%; Linux 2.25%
Sep. 2011 - Windows 82.41%; Apple 11.10%; Linux 2.41%
Oct. 2011 - Windows 86.15%; Apple 10.37%; Linux 2.53%
Nov. 2011 - Windows 85.8%;  Apple 10.7%;  Linux 3.0% 
Dec. 2011 - Windows 80.83%; Apple 11.20%; Linux 3.00%
Jan. 2012 - Windows 78.66%; Apple 13.28%; Linux 3.90%
Feb. 2012 - Windows 82.11%; Apple 10.61%; Linux 2.82%
Mar. 2012 - Windows 73.38%; Apple 15.87%; Linux 5.05%
Apr. 2012 - Windows 82.21%; Apple  9.89%; Linux 3.05%
May  2012 - Windows 83.07%; Apple 12.28%; Linux 3.60%
Jun. 2012 - Windows 78.89%; Apple 15.47%; Linux 3.95%
Jul. 2012 - Windows 79.88%; Apple 13.99%; Linux 4.05%
Aug. 2012 - Windows 79.21%; Apple 14.55%; Linux 3.90%
Set. 2012 - Windows 75.88%; Apple 14.87%; Linux 3.81%
Oct. 2012 - Windows 82.76%; Apple 12.58%; Linux 4.13%
Nov. 2012 - Windows 81.74%; Apple 12.55%; Linux 3.93%
Dec. 2012 - Windows 81.54%; Apple 12.56%; Linux 3.92%
Jan. 2013 - Windows 80.84%; Apple 13.41%; Linux 3.97%
Feb. 2013 - Windows 75.89%; Apple 15.99%; Linux 5.47%
Mar. 2013 - Windows 78.85%; Apple 14.81%; Linux 4.59%
Apr. 2013 - Windows 79.01%; Apple 14.25%; Linux 4.66%
May  2013 - Windows 80.34%; Apple 12.89%; Linux 5.29%
June 2013 - Windows 73.49%; Apple 17.27%; Linux 6.68%
July 2013 - Windows 75.67%; Apple 16.05%; Linux 5.57%
Aug. 2013 - Windows 74.97%; Apple 16.12%; Linux 6.65%
Sep. 2013 - Windows 72.32%; Apple 15.69%; Linux 6.80%
Oct. 2013 - Windows 72.02%; Apple 15.85%; Linux 7.06%
Nov. 2013 - Windows 77.90%; Apple 12.96%; Linux 5.35%
Feb. 2015 - Windows 60.27%; Apple 17.70%; Linux 15.05%
Jun. 2015 - Windows 41.48%; Apple 35.75%; Linux 16.19%
Dec. 2015 - Windows 48.70%; Apple 16.33%; Linux 28.40%
May  2016 - Windows 45.00%; Apple 16.43%; Linux 33.15%
Dec. 2016 - Windows 38.31%; Apple 17.63%; Linux 39.38% 


(I intend to update this article from time to time - hopefully at least once per month.)

23.8.10

Pequenas Conversas, É Bom!

"Pequeno É Bom" is a monthly meeting about independent editions. I've participated several times on this meetings, and there are some videos where you can listen (in Portuguese) to my points of view regarding the independent edition. Here are the movies:











2.7.10

Switched from Blackberry to Optimus Boston (Andoid)

Since I have this blog that I write here about each cellphone swap I do, even if this is the first time I'm writing about it only after the switch has been made. Part of the reason for that is that I wasn't really planing to swap phones: I've been really happy with my Blackberry Pearl, even if the 2 years old telephone was starting to ask for an update: GPS for the occasional walk in the city in places where I need Google Maps (I need that a lot more than you might think: I don't drive, and I don't have any kind of orientation skills - I lived 6 years or so in Coimbra, and with an effort I still can get lost in that city; curiously, now that I have a GPS on the phone, I didn't tried it yet) and HDSPA are welcomed. Yet, it was this phone appearing that made me change it - that and the fact that Paula was craving the Blackberry for herself (spoiler here: she now wants another one like mine). For comparison, here are two movies of both the phones:

Blackberry Pearl


Optimus Boston


But's not what you want to know, right? Is it worthy? Well, the summary is: Boston kicks ass. Two possible disadvantages, and my worries, are:
  • I'm switching to a cellphone without physical keyboard, and I am used to type a lot on my cellphone;
  • It was impossible for me, whatever I did to try it, to use up all the Pearl's battery in less than 24 hours. I'm not asking for 24 hours, but I would expect a phone to manage to stay on for the duration of a day - minimum 16 hours. I still didn't have one "usual day" with my phone to make sure of how much does it take to discharge to the point of shutting down, but I'm starting to think that possibly it won't stand on that long, for the kind of use I expect to do with it.
More stuff: migrating was totally easy - there a Google App called "Google Sync", available for lots of cellphones including Blackberries, that send your stuff (in my case contacts and calendar) to Google.


I just installed it, run it on my Blackberry (via EDGE, so I left my SIM card on Blackberry and started playing with Boston without SIM), and it just started uploading contacts on one side, and they were appearing on the other side. How? Well, one of the first questions the cellphone made me was something like "do you want google stuff?", so I said yes, inserted my credentials, et voilá - contacts, calendar, mail, all on the phone at once. Oh, of course it needed connectivity, so when it said to me "do you want to use wireless?" I said yes, configured the AP (because it isn't open WiFi), and I was online. What about exchange or other "corporate-stuff" Blackberries are so known for? Well, painless is the word. Boston comes already with Roadsync applications installed by default, with their icons and widget on one of the three virtual desktops. The name of the apps "roadwhatever" made me not to touch them, but touching on the widget it just told me "do you want to configure your exchange account?" Now, setting up an exchange account usually sucks, right? Not this time, it was just next-next-next-done. There, calendar and mail on the phone.


I am planing on writting a more interesting blogpost on the future (including pros and cons of this phone, Android, why isn't running Debian yet ;-) and stuff like that, but that will have to be for another time :-) If you don't want to wait, well, I sometimes kind of talk about it on my friendfeed...

25.6.10

XVI FEIRA LAICA

XVI FEIRA LAICA
Dias 26 e 27 de Junho
14H-20H
Bedeteca de Lisboa | Olivais | Portugal

Now with sixteen editions, the biggest Portuguese independent fair returns to its most regular place, for two days of cultural fair trade, networking and music. Highlighs in this edition for the concerts going on during the event, activities for kids with Mini-Laica (opportunity for kids to trade things they don’t want anymore) and story telling; the traditional second-hand stall (books and records); the “Science Is My Mother” wall in the expositions space in Bedeteca and a typography workshop by Oficina do Cego.

Poster by José Cardoso

I'm going to be there during all the event, in Noori Records' stall, and invite you to also come and say hi. More information (in Portuguese) can be found at Feira Laica’s website. See you there!

17.6.10

Piracy talking? Hush! (Or how Google doesn't like what I have to say)

Last month I wrote about "piracy" - you know, the non-authorized download of copyrighted content - in this blog post. For it, I made a poll, using blogger tools (that uses a Google service to create polls), where I was asking questions about "what would you do if you couldn't do non-authorized download of copyrighted content". The options were something like this:

  • I don't do non-authorized download of copyrighted content
  • If I couldn't do it, I would buy everything I now download
  • If I couldn't do it, I would buy some things I now download
  • If I couldn't do it, I wouldn' buy anything I now download anyway
I now came to my blog to see something else (don't ask me what, I can't remember), and I just noticed the big 404 you probably see on it:


I don't know why the poll was deleted, I heard nothing from Google regarding it, but I'm surely not going to quit doing this just because Google doesn't like my polls. No, I'm creating another poll. For the record, and I have nothing but my word on this, last time I've checked more than 40 votes where in it, and 0 of them were in the "I would pay for everything I download if I couldn't download it" option.

So, here's the poll, again. If you had voted previously, please vote again, and help spread the word... Thank you.


[UPDATE:] And then, the Google poll is back online. Just to be sure, please vote on both...

29.5.10

Poll about "piracy", please vote and spread the word

OK, I'm asking and pointing out for years about the fact that so-called "scientific studies" "proving" that "piracy" ("unauthorized" download of copyrighted material) is bad (like this latest about how many VAT countries are arguably loosing thanks to "piracy") always have the same (and biased) flaw: they assume - obviously wrongly - that each downloaded without authorization piece of copyrighted bits (whatever they are: movies, music, books, software,...) would be a sale if the person didn't have the chance to download it. In other words: these studies assume that you would buy every crappy movie or album you download from the pirate bay if, well, the pirate bay wasn't there. Which I wholeheartedly believe is utter crap.

So, since nobody does nothing about this (yes, I'm criticizing the journalists out there), I decided to do something myself. I know this is not scientific, but I spread the challenge: get me a scientific study about this and I'll use your data. Until then, well, this is what I've got. I wish I had at least 100 votes to give some meaning to the results, so, please spread the word about this poll. Thank you.

PS -> The poll is on the right sidebar of this blog. If you're reading this via RSS, please go to http://mindboosternoori.blogspot.com. There's also a direct link to the poll.

Thank you.

[UPDATE] seems that the good folks from Google decided they didn't like the poll, so they took it down. Last time I've checked, more than 40 votes where in it, and 0 of them were in the "I would pay for everything I download if I couldn't download it" option. A new blog post about this will come soon.

[UPDATE 2] A new blog post about this, and with a new poll, not hosted by Google, is here.

7.3.10

HOWTO have wireless working on an ASUS EEE PC 1001P in Ubuntu

HOWTO have wireless working on an ASUS EEE PC 1001P in Ubuntu
or, alternatively,
HOWTO add AR2427 support to Ubuntu


UPDATE:

This is the last update I plan to do to this blog post. Ubuntu 10.10 (at this moment only available in it's "Alpha 2" version) already supports this out of the box. Thus, the most recommended procedure is to install Ubuntu 10.10 or later. No other support is being offered regarding this issue.


It's pretty simple, really. This blog post is being written just because all the "other ways" of doing it I've seen on the web until now were painful in comparison.

  1. Open a terminal, and type:
  2. wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/daily/2010-06-15-maverick/linux-image-2.6.35-999-generic_2.6.35-999.201006151505_i386.deb
  3. sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.33-999-generic_2.6.33-999.201003061003_i386.deb
  4. reboot

Oh, how I love free software :-)

Update:
The brightness controls for this laptop are kind of messed up when you install Ubuntu there, and get even more messed up when you update the kernel (what I said you to do before in order to get wireless working). To fix it, you have to do, in a terminal:
  • sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
  • change the line that says
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
    to
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi=Linux"
  • save the file and quit, and then, in the terminal, type:
  • sudo update-grub
  • reboot
Update 2: Notice that now the kernel version I'm telling you to download in this blog post is different. This kernel version has a couple of bugs solved that affected 1001P netbooks, so it is recommended that you use this one instead.

Update 3: See the top disclaimer.

25.2.10

SellABand changes hands... and business model

As I told you in the lastest blog post, SellABand went bankrupt.

Soon after, aquisition rumours started. Then, it was official. And a couple of minutes ago, the website was back online.

Business as usual, right? Wrong.

Users trying to log in SAB again are greeted with a notice of some new Terms of Service - which you agree or you have to cancel your account. The new Terms of Service have a funny clause, one that radically changes SAB business model. In 4.5, they state that a believer can't take back his money if it's on SAB for more than 15 days. OUCH!, this is more than a change, this is not acknowledging the real SAB problems, while failing because they take out the incentive to actually be a believer... What an huge #FAIL: this new SAB is, automatically, a lot worse than what it was.

When canceling (because I don't accept the new TOS) my accounts,  they said to me:

Dear Merankorii,

We would really like to hear the reason why you do not want to accept the new Terms and Conditions and stop participating on SellaBand.
Here's my reply:

The new 4.5 clause makes believers being forced to loose their money, even if the band they wanted to succeed abandons the project or otherwise doesn't reach its goal. With the new terms, believers stop having the ability to be "believers of some specific artist(s)", and are thus forced to be "believers on SAB". While that might work to some believers and bands, that radical change of concept doesn't work for me both as an artist and a believer. Thus, unless/until you change the TOS again, I want to withdraw my money on SAB and quit both my artist and believer accounts. I don't count on coming back to SAB as an artist until this 4.5 changes to something I feel more fair for me, as a band, to purpose to my fans, and I count to get back to being a believer *only*if* I find a band that I like so much that I'm willing to bet with my money in, taking into account that I might never see that money again -- which doesn't happen with any SAB artist at the moment.

23.2.10

SellABand goes bankrupt

I've written about SellABand in the past:

2006/09:

[...]SellABand, a German startup that tries to act like a record label for registered artists. I also intend to do a full review on this later, and to sign Merankorii there, but I have to confess that I don't believe it's business model will make this service survive. Anyway, the fact that startups like this are starting to appear just show that there's a need to do something into the new music market reality, and Web 2.0 might be a key tag on that future. I also think I'll talk more about that in my presentation on BarCamp Portugal.
2006/09:
When I talked about the actual music industry scenario with the technological advances we're seeing on BarCamp Portugal, I said that new stuff was needed, and that some webapps are walking towards the solutions needed (like Amie St. or SellABand) but we weren't there yet. Well, yesterday I knew about Treemo, the next step towards what we need.
[...]
While new features are surely going to appear, their model business will hardly change - but will, perheaps, evolve. Yet, and under the actual stance that, I don't see them as being a viable way for artists to earn money with their art, but it's a good step towards it.
2007/02:
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.
2007/05:
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.
2007/09:
But the big question here remains: what's the really good way of doing this? How to create the "Record Label 2.0"? Every one of the three concepts for music have problems (SellABand, Launch A Label and the $100 label), and while ideas can and should be taken from stuff like Open Source or examples like Swarm of Angels, there's still no idea of how to create the "killer record label", that which is fair to everyone (from the artist to the public). I wrote my ideas of how to create the perfect record label [6] in the past, even if it was just a collection of loose thoughts in a way that seemed to make sense. There's no answer yet, but it's definitively something interesting enough to make me think.
In 2007/10 I actually interviewed SellABand. All of it is relevant, but let me highlight this part - more interesting when we think about it's state of bankrupcy:
When it comes to SellaBand I am very confident that it is a sustainable business model. The relationship of the artist with his or her fans is a unique one that is very difficult to break. Imagine seeing 50,000 dollars roll in on your account. Imagine realizing your dream because thousands of music fans believe in you. Imagine seeing an artist you supported on MTV. All of this magic is happening and will happen a lot more for a very long time.
In 2008/07 I interviewed Equal Dreams, a SAB competitor. This is what they had to said regarding SAB:
Compared to the other services Equal Share provides the artists with more flexibility in defining what he or she is actually selling to the audience and for what price; first of all, there are no pre-set target goals, but the artists can define their own funding needs; after all the quality of the produced music does not necessarily correlate with the amount of money spend in the project. Nowadays this is true more than ever as the prices of digital recording equipment have come down so drastically. Artist could also use Equal Share together with a record label/producer to gather a partial funding for the production. Secondly, the co-funding, which works with a pre-order concept, can be flexibly assigned to even just one song, and the pre-order price can be set as low as 0.50 EUR. We think this is more attractive from the customer’s point of view than being prescribed to invest tens of euros. Fans can be updated about the progress of the production project using the internal messaging system in the Service.
In 2008/11, I wrote:
They're changing for better, but they're still too far from where they should. Let's see how this goes...
In 2009/06, I questioned some bands decisions regarding their editions, based on SAB figures, and questions that should also apply to SAB themselves.

...

Today SellABand's website gives us this message:
On Friday February 19th, SellaBand AG requested provisional suspension of payments (moratorium). This was granted by the Court in Amsterdam on the same day. Yesterday, Monday February 22nd, this moratorium was changed into bankruptcy, with appointment of, Mr Paul Schaink, an amsterdam lawyer, as trustee. The trustee wishes to inform the 'Sellaband community' that, apart from a few technicalities, the completion of a transaction with a potential buyer of the business, is to be expected soon, in order to make a fresh start, safeguarding both the rights of Believers and Artists. More news will follow shortly.
I don't know what "shortly" is, but I'm sure I want to know about it. In the meanwhile...
There's one thing I know for sure - this bankrupcy is not SAB's business model fault, it is their management fault - just ask anyone from its community.

3.1.10

Personal Top 20 decade bands

Sorry for the lack of propper formating and links, this is a blog post being written in a rush, via cellphone.

I've seen more than one hundred "top music lists" in the last month: being end of year and end of decade (spare me the math, people *act* as this was an end of decade, and that's what matters), it is no surprise that we get so many lists, and, well, all of them (the music ones) are subjective and kind of personal, so not only I'm not going to comment them, but also I'm not going to hide it: this blog post is highly personal, and lists what were, for me, the 20 most important music acts of this decade. Personal, I insist.

Black Metal band ColdBlooded (and probably also Death Metallers NecroSlaughter, but those won't be a part of this list since they ended up never going public, with music released or gigs played) is a really personal choice: they are a part of the reason that made me understand what it is to be a musician today, what can you achieve by yourself, the reality of Portuguese small labels, and several other things. Not only their "Sangue Barbaro" release is great, but their existence was, by chance, an important piece in my path as a musician. Heavily related with it (specially with NecroSlaughter) is Mordor, my "old Metal band". It was an important experience and step for me, where the process was more important than the result. Now defunct, its track "Dystopia" is what's worth listening of it, and the example of what Mordor could have been if it wasn't just a process, the path that led me as a musician to try something else... and what ended up validating my steps as a musician by myself... and so, the third in my list, Merankorii, my experimental one-man-band. Writing about Merankorii would be a project by itself (maybe one day I'll write a book or something about it), but for this post I'll just say that Merankorii is... "the musical me". You can listen or download lots of free tracks or albums, or buy some of its records. Merankorii is a pretty active musical project, and disregarding compilations and similar collaborations it has released 9 albums, with the 10th comming really soon. Another inspiring Portuguese one-man-band, and the fourth of this list, is Ambiance, unfortunately virtually unknown and yet one of the best Portuguese acts we have and one that, for me, mark the Portuguese music history of this decade. Personally I think that "As Dez Esperas" is its best album, and if you're willing to know this band you should grab that album. My story with Ambience's M. Is once again a proof that the era of rock stars is over, and that bands have to be more accessible than ever. My interaction with him was so good that we ended up creating a musical project and an album together: that is the story of the creation of "Ambiansu", considered by some as "better than Merankorii or Ambiense alone". Only time will tell what the future reserves for this project, but I believe that you'll hear more about it, even if not a lot more. Anyway, it was already worth it, and its record will always have a very special place in my music collection. +ko+ko+, another Portuguese one-man-band, is a musical project created in 2009, when its debut album was released (by Noori Records), and it is important for me in many levels. It is, IMHO, a great album, which I helped producing, and it is for me the proof that nowadays anyone can create great music, if they have the will to do it. The seventh is being announced in this post: kokori. I don't have any clue about what's going to happen to that musical project, but kokori is yet another experience, and yet another example of how different things are in the music world nowadays. It appeared almost by chance, and it is a musical project created by me and the guy behind +ko+ko+. If nothing else, the only track we've done is going to be released soon in a compilation. Then, a triple: Empyrium, Tenhi and Neun Welten. These three neofolk bands play the type of neofolk I enjoy and inspires me the most. Heavily linked with Mother Nature, they are different but complement themselves. Empyrium was an exercice of perfectionism. Album after album, its work was getting more and more defined, until their last, the perfect album, was done and released. After that, the work of Empyrium was done and the project disbanded. A great collectors package was released with every Empyrium work and a book explaining it all, so grab it if you get the chance. Tenhi is darker, colder, more introspective. A different take on the subject, they've been aweing me (and its fans) album after album, and I'm sure that I won't be able ever to think about this decade about reminding them. They're making something beautiful and new from what's ancient, and they work as a proof that there's evolution in music. Neun Welten, a relatively new act, is for me something as a bridge between Empyrium and Tenhi: its recently released second album surely sounds more Empyrium-ish than the first, but... It's not really a good time for me to talk about N.W. since I still need to have more contact with the new album. DVAR and Caprice, needed to be introduced together, are 11 and 12 on this list. DVAR is simply the most "inovattive" band there is, and Caprice a DVAR-ish (in mood) introduction to the neoclassical faerie world. Grab DVAR's complete discography, if you can (being released by Russian labels add to their mistery an "hard-to-grab" factor), and the latest Caprice works.

Sunn O))) was great in the decade, introducing drone to the mainstream. Ashram is the proof that simple can be beautiful, showing us the future of neoclassical music. Current 93 proves that indie bands can make it, with its legion of true fans and Tibet's non-stop work making new and different albums in a breathtaking pace. The decade begun with Jack Off Jill's latest album, and a prelude to Scarling.: less shock rock, still grrl rock, this is simply what indie rock should be. Jessicka from Scarling. created another musical project "The Ingenues" (only one digital single released so far), let's see if they make into the 10's list. Speaking of shock rock, it's no news that I consider Marilyn Manson a genious musician, but this decade was my "departure" with his works: despite Holy Wood and The Golden Age of Grotesque being excelent albums (totally different, but both really good), I didn't really followed his works after that (and from what I've heard I didn't miss much), nor even went to his latest concerts in Portugal: my boycott to major labels includes Interscope since it is a subsidiary of Universal... but the great news about Marilyn Manson came already in the last month of the decade: Marilyn Manson's contract with Interscope expired, so now he's free and working on a new album... may 2010 bring us a great new MM record. And, well, talking about MM I had to talk about #18 and #19: Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead are two bands I don't actually musically enjoy enough to buy them an album, but they surely marked the decade, to the point that if this list had only two name, they had to be these. Their message is clear: stop whining, music is more alive than ever. Some of the lists I've been reading come with rants telling us that this decade was not a particulary good one on music (OK, some of those who wrote about it can never be taken seriously - yes, I'm looking at you Belanciano), but these two actually gave us, more than music, or business models, a message: the next decade, regarding music, will be brilliant if we let it go that way. Finaly, the #20: Astra Autisma. This one is hard to explain, go listen to it yourself. A warning tho: it's something that won't last...