Six Apart presents a preview of of its forthcoming blogging product. This new tool builds on the deep understanding of evolving customer requirements based on the company’s experiences with Movable Type, the premier Weblog publishing platform for business, TypePad the popular Weblogging service powering the world’s leading Weblogs, and LiveJournal, one of largest online communities. This new blogging solution blends elements of all these products to provide a platform that enables individuals, organizations and corporations to use the Web to communicate most effectively.

Read more about it here. The system is still closed, but I'm looking forward to see what will this be able to do, since I believe that this might have the social aspects needed to the so wanted next-generation blogging. As soon as I get some more news on Comet I'll comment on them...


Religions and Gods

Nowadays, people think about "god(s)" and their existence (or not) when talking about religion. So they usually think that religious people are the ones that believe in one or more gods, and non-religious people are those who believe in none. That's not true: there are polytheistic religions, monoteistic religions and atheistic religions.
Another wrong assumption made is that a religious person worships the number of gods he believes it exists. That's untrue. There are plenty of monolatrist religions that are polytheistic, for instance. The most well-known example of this must be the Hebrews, that believed in several Gods but only worshiped Yahweh.
Every monotheistic religion is a branch or inspired by a monolatrist religion, monotheist or pholytheist. Every pholytheist religion was based on another religion, pholylatrist, pholytheist or ateist. And every pholylatrist religion is based on an atheist religion.
This is history.
So, and in fact, the origin of all religions came from atheist religions. They had no concept of such entities as "Gods", but still, they could worship: not Gods but other people, animals, the Sun, the Moon, the Rain, anything and everything that came out of Nature (and yes, humans are Nature creations, from this prespective).


Is it the 1st of April?

Adobe are writing lot's of jokes on the web, mainly saying that they care about acessibility.

Well, the license for Macromedia Flash plugin makes it illegal to use with FreeBSD, NetBSD, and all other platforms not explicitly listed in the license. The same license forbids you from running the flash plugin on any embedded Linux. Now where's acessibility? Adobe's websites themselves have parts that only can be viewed using "Flash 9" (still in beta!) and on Linux we can only use Flash 7. That stupid "publicity" on Flex and new Adobe technologies must be a joke, right?

How to give acessibility to Ajax applications

Fun how I was talking about this just yesterday...

This blog post talks about the Web Accessibility Initiative's Protocols and Formats working group efforts to give accessibility to Ajax'ed applications...

Freeway (Port GNUnet to Java) on SoC

Port GNUnet to Java ("Freeway", www.gnunet.org/freeway) 0.7 is now a SoC project.

The GNUnet reference implementation is written in pure C. Stephane Vallee ported the old 0.6.x tree to Java about two years ago, however the current 0.7.x version is dramatically different and the Java version has not been updated to reflect those changes. Having a (compatible) Java version would make GNUnet easier to install for some users. It would also help developers that are more skilled in Java than in C to prototype new protocols.

The goal of this project is to port the current C code to Java, re-using some of the existing Freeway code. While the existing Java port does not work properly with free JVMs, it would be important that the result will run using only free software. We do not expect that the entire codebase of GNUnet is ported to Java; instead, the Java version should be able to use native calls to load existing C modules. This will limit the effort to porting the core (src/server/, about 8000 lines) and utilities (src/util/, about 17000 lines, largely unchanged from 0.6.x). After that, it should already be possible to write extensions in Java. Note that the 0.6.x Freeway port did not use native C calls to load existing modules, which is why it was not possible to keep up with the development of the reference implementation written in C. We will make sure that this does not happen this time.


ps2pdfwr weirdness

Dear Lazyweb:

Can you please enlighten me about why the fuck in this Fedora Core 4 machine everytime I use ps2pdfwr to convert a .ps file to a .pdf one, it does it but also prints the result to my default printer? This is FREAKING WEIRD!

EU says NO to Software Patents

The European Patent Office will be bound by proposed legislation that will exclude software from patentability, according to the EC, in a move that has startled opponents of software patents

Software patent campaigners were shocked on Wednesday by an apparent change in stance towards software patents by the European Commission.

The European Commission said last week that computer programs will be excluded from patentability in the upcoming Community Patent legislation, and that the European Patent Office (EPO) will be bound by this law.

"The EPO would... apply and be bound by a new unitary Community law with respect to Community patents," said the EC in a statement. "The draft Community Patent regulation confirms in its Article 28.1(a) that patents granted for a subject matter (such as computer programs), which is excluded from patentability pursuant to Article 52 EPC [European Patent Convention], may be invalidated in a relevant court proceeding."

This statement appears to contradict what the EC said last year — that the EPO would continue to grant software patents that make a technical contribution, despite the European Parliament's decision to reject the software patent directive.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), which has doggedly campaigned against software patents in Europe, was confused at the EC's change of tune.

"I'm stunned," said Pieter Hintjens, the president of the FFII on Wednesday. "Does the Commission now accept that the EPC rules do actually rule? Or have I misunderstood something?"

In the past, software patent campaigners have expressed concerns that the Community Patent legislation would be used by the EC to legalise software patents.

The EC's statement was made in response to a question posed by a Polish MEP, Adam Gierek, in April. Gierek asked whether the Community Patent legislation would ratify the EPO's current practice of granting software patents.

"I am concerned about European Patent Office (EPO) practices which are undermining the social acceptability of the patent system, with patents being granted for solutions that are not patentable under the current law," said Gierek. "Does the Commission still stand by the position set out in... the proposal for a Council regulation on the Community patent, namely that the case law which the EPO developed for the European patent will apply to the Community patent?"

Even if the Community Patent legislation does allow software patents to be invalidated in court, this is not enough, according to the FFII's Hintjens. The EPO should offer an independent appeal process, rather than forcing companies to pursue a costly legal case at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), he said.

"The proposed Community Patents will be granted by the EPO: a non-accountable, non-Community organisation, with no independent appeal possible. The Commission says this is not a problem since the ECJ can invalidate the granted patents in infringement cases," said Hintjens.

"That is however only true if it comes to civil litigation, which is often too expensive for SMEs, forcing them to pay for a licence. Therefore software patents not yet taken to court will impose an enormous burden on the industry," he added.

Gierek's question and the EC's full answer can be viewed on the European Parliament's Web site.



feeds.reddit is yet another online RSS reader, but gladfully it has some innovative things that make it the best online RSS reader I know so far.

The idea is that it's a more social web feed (RSS) reader. First, it's got a great interface for reading feeds over the Internet -- it has key commands (see the faq) that let you easily breeze through stories while keeping track of what you've read and haven't read. Then there's a simple URL you can go to any time, anywhere (I visit it from my phone) to see stories you haven't read yet.

Second, just like on reddit, you can vote on items you like a lot. This will go towards creating a list of the most popular items but it will also train a recommendations system to try to find other items and other feeds that you'll probably like as well.

The only thing I don't like about it is a missing feature (I've already suggest it): a feature that would let you turn feeds.reddit into my Galxy concept. I mean, why can't I turn my http://feeds.reddit.com/my/ into http://feeds.reddit.com/myname and suddenly have a Planet setted up?

Comic of the Day


Music Downloads

I just found this poll in one of the talkers where I'm a regular... Interesting results.

>-----< Current Poll: Music downloads >---------------------------------------<
| |
| Music publishers now recognise that people will pay to download music |
| from the Internet. How do you obtain most of your music? |
| |
| Remember, the poll is anonymous! |
| |
| 1) Download from an official site like the iTunes Sto 4 votes ( 7%) |
| 2) Download from a dodgy Russian cheap MP3 site 1 vote ( 1%) |
| 3) Download illegally from a P2P network 22 votes ( 43%) |
| 4) Buy the CD from an online store 0 votes ( 0%) |
| 5) Buy the CD from a regular store 12 votes ( 23%) |
| 6) Zahlman sings softly in my ear as I sleep 12 votes ( 23%) |
| |

Maybe the music industry should try to find out why is this instead of just using repression to change the numbers?


Future Tense

Since I didn't blogged today, I've decided to leave here a link to an enlightning text called "Future Tense" for your reading pleasure. "Future Tense" is a prespective about a computorised future, and even if I don't exactly agree with some prespectives, this is a fine reading.

The article is divided in six parts:

* Part 1: Intro
* Part 2: Always on
* Part 3: IPzation
* Part 4: Sensors
* Part 5: Participatory Applications
* Part 6: Conclusion

Start reading it here.



CityCita is bringing up together a new service that help groups create group events in a smart way with a nice series of features. The service is in private beta now, and I'm one of those who have a beta account. So I can already tell you this - CityCita doesn't give you anything new or innovative in the social webapps world. Sorry, but I think your Web 2.0 app fails to achieve the basic points needed to be worthy: first of all it should have something new, which it hasn't.

XTech 2006 - The End

Building Software With Human Intelligence: What Amazon Mechanical Turk Can Do For You and Your Customers
When we think of interfaces between human beings and computers, we usually assume that the human being is the one requesting that a task be completed, and the computer is completing the task and providing the results. What if this process were reversed and a computer program could ask a human being to perform a task and return the results? What if it could coordinate many human beings to perform a task? Jeff Barr will explain how Amazon Web Services has made this possible with the introduction of the Amazon Mechanical Turk API, which allows computers to integrate Artificial Artificial Intelligence directly into their processing by making requests of humans. Developers use the Amazon Mechanical Turk web services API to submit tasks to the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site, approve completed tasks, and incorporate the answers into their software applications. To the application, the transaction looks very much like any remote procedure callâ€"the application sends the request, and the service returns the results. In reality, a network of humans fuels this Artificial Artificial Intelligence by coming to the web site, searching for and completing tasks, and receiving payment for their work. Find out how you can use Amazon Mechanical Turk to build a new business or change an existing one. JavaScript 2 and the Future of the Web vaScript is back in fashion, with Ajax libraries and applications redefining the web-based user experience. The JavaScript programming language standard is also finally receiving significant investment, both to fix bugs and to address the demands of “programming in the large” that inevitably arise in building modern browser-based applications, all while preserving compatibility with the mountains of JS on today’s web. The long-awaited next version of JavaScript, ECMAScript Edition 4 or “JavaScript 2”, is being specified this year by an ECMA group including representatives from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera. The specification should be wrapped up in the first half of 2007, and I will present some of the new features of the language, demonstrated via a prototype implementation in Mozilla Firefox. Even with aggressive commitments from Mozilla, Opera, and Adobe to finish and ship implementations of Edition 4, many users will not be able to run applications that take advantage of the new capabilities of JavaScript 2 for some time to come. In order to bring the power of JS2 to bear more quickly, and to aid migration, an open source JS2-to-JS compiler is in development, and will be presented here. We intend that this tool will make JS2 a viable choice for developers soonâ€"this year, in fact. JavaScript has been a crucial part of the web for over ten years, and it will be around at least that much longer, so the ECMA group is designing for the longer haul. The aim is to support not only “programming in the large”, but also metaprogramming, so that future evolution of the language can happen above the core ECMA specification, in the standard library ecology. These design decisions, product commitments, and tool developments all contribute to one key goal: making web applications better and easier to build, for tomorrow and the next decade alike.

JavaScript 2 and the Future of the Web

JavaScript is back in fashion, with Ajax libraries and applications redefining the web-based user experience. The JavaScript programming language standard is also finally receiving significant investment, both to fix bugs and to address the demands of “programming in the large” that inevitably arise in building modern browser-based applications, all while preserving compatibility with the mountains of JS on today’s web.

The long-awaited next version of JavaScript, ECMAScript Edition 4 or “JavaScript 2”, is being specified this year by an ECMA group including representatives from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera. The specification should be wrapped up in the first half of 2007, and I will present some of the new features of the language, demonstrated via a prototype implementation in Mozilla Firefox.

Even with aggressive commitments from Mozilla, Opera, and Adobe to finish and ship implementations of Edition 4, many users will not be able to run applications that take advantage of the new capabilities of JavaScript 2 for some time to come. In order to bring the power of JS2 to bear more quickly, and to aid migration, an open source JS2-to-JS compiler is in development, and will be presented here. We intend that this tool will make JS2 a viable choice for developers soon—this year, in fact.

JavaScript has been a crucial part of the web for over ten years, and it will be around at least that much longer, so the ECMA group is designing for the longer haul. The aim is to support not only “programming in the large”, but also metaprogramming, so that future evolution of the language can happen above the core ECMA specification, in the standard library ecology.

These design decisions, product commitments, and tool developments all contribute to one key goal: making web applications better and easier to build, for tomorrow and the next decade alike.

What now?

Well, it seems that my posts about XTech are (almost) at their end... I still intend to do two post-mortem posts: one with pictures and videos (but I still have to download them from my mobile phone and post them on the web), and one other with a presentation about XTech: seems that I'll have to do a presentation about it here for work, so I'll try to do (after it) a more general (and in English) version of it and post it here.

Now, back to work...

GNUnet 0.7.0e released

Download GNUnet 0.7.0e here. gnunet-gtk is a separate download and can be found here.
This is a bugfix release for 0.7.0d. It fixes various bugs:

  • UDP transport could be DoSed by sending packet of size 0 (causing 100% CPU load)
  • Fixed some deadlocks in gnunet-gtk
  • Fixed stack overflows (architecture dependent)
  • Fixed rare crash in gnunet-transport-check
There were also some minor feature enhancements:
  • The installed header files are now more C++ friendly
  • gnunet-setup now uses libglade, just like gnunet-gtk.
  • gnunet-gtk shows some additional statistics.
  • A tray icon was added for gnunet-gtk.
  • Other minor cosmetic improvements


XTech - day 3 - part 2

The End of the Open Internet?: Network Service and Security in Web 2.0

How does the huge political movement connects with thye small world of Informatic Systems? The Internet is evolving toward a more managed model. Sore are predicationg the end of the "Open Internet". XML Open Data enables many of those changes. We have an almost "Layer 8" in the Network stack, with an higher lever of abstaction, value-added Application Network Services, and issues like Security or QoS.

Layer 8: On top of the Application layer, nowadays we have a "Services" layer, not exclusively on top of HTTP...

Application Networling: Networking vendors have to address XML Open Data but they to address XML Open Data but theyt can also enlarge their market doing it... An example of this is "Cisco AON", that gives Content-Based Routing, Web Services Security, XTM XML Threat Management (Layer 8 firewall), App-to-App Mediation (usually XSLT), Application Acceleration (compression, caching, validation), Com pliance Enforcement, Business Inteligence Capture and Network Utilization Monitoring.

Security: The Internet is utterly broken, security-wise. Related to Open Data, you can do Deep Content Inspection and consider that all packets are NOT equal. I just knew about "Attribute Explosion", a known method of breaking an webservice...

QoS: Patches like MPLS are band-aids, not sollutions. Transport, open data provides nice means to implement QoS methods.

Examples on how to implement Open Data stuff into the network layer: XML Content-Based Routing can be done. For instance, with XPATH you can decide the priority of Service packages.

Application Networking and Pay for Performance: While the "carriers" (telcos, owner of the "big pipes") want to charge for performance-level based access to the network, Cisco (and others) have the first stage of technology to provice Open Data (XML-based) Application QoS in the network, that, while it isn't yet integrated into router, it will be.

So, is the Open Internet going to end? Who will win the political fight about who "owns" the internet?

XTech - day 3 - part 1


The wireless here really sucks, but last night it was good, so I think that only some areas have signal problems, and the huge number of people with laptops in this zone isn't definitively helping... My plane back to Lisbon - Portugal is today, so I've already checked out from the hotel I was, and I'm wandering here in XTech with my heavy backpack on my back... I've just got a call from my brother: it seems that he's going somewhere (Prague, I think, but I'm not sure), and his flight has scaling here on Amsterdam. He has to board at 19:xx, and my check-in is only around that hour, but I might still get to see him at the airport, since it's quite funny since we don't see each other that much in Portugal, and when I come to another country I get to be with him...

Bringing Web 2.0 to Mobile Devices - Mobile Web Applications

This two presentations were made by Opera folks, about their efforts in bringing Web to mobile devices, namedly mobile phones. It was really cool since they are undoubtly the state of the art in this matter, although they still have lot's of work to do and can never stop - competitors will appear. But when the only non-corporative alternatives to that is minimo (that I don't believe it will work, since it needs a lot of effort to be done, and nowadays it has only one developer), they are in a stable ground to grow. I also liked the end of the last presentation when he talked about things that browsers in general (not only or at all mobile ones) need to do to get better...

Mini Map - A web page visualization method for mobile phones

This presentation is being made by a Nokia guy. Mobile users want to have full web capabilities in their mobile phones. But nowadays mobile browsers sucks: you have a small monitors to present pages created to be seen in big monitors, and the usual approaches are really bad, usabillity sucks, you have to do so much scrolling, images are shrinked... So Nokia created (for their mobile phones only, which sucks) the "Mini Map visualization method". They present a layout near from the original layout, they have zoom capabilities on the whole page or of it's contents (being the first something similar to zooming in an image, and the second like pressing CTRL++), and text columns can be scaled to the size of the screen. To easy on the scroll issue, they have "port view", that works like a screenshot to do the scrolling. This gives user orientation on the page. You can disable minimap at any time and have a full-screen view... The usual "Back" and "Forward" functions in web browsers (as has been discussed lot's of times in usability studies) aren't really good, and they tried to fix that using the minimap to show you snapshots of where you were, so you can browse though your history. One thing that sucks on the web world is that nowadays everyone makes pages thinking that you have a mouse, and if that was getting almost true, now it's getting more and more false, since there are so many cellphones with browsers out there, and mobile phones don't have mouses, so they just decided to put the five-way joystick in phones to act like a mouse...

They needed a browser engine, and to choose it they wanted an open source engine with web site compatibility, with a understandable design and that would run on S60 (Symbian) platform. They had three possibilities: write a new engine, license a 3rd-party, or choose an open source engine like Gecko, KHTML... but they wanted something with small RAM/ROM footprint and a good performance, so they chose WebCore (part of Safari, based on KHTML).

They are sharing their code into the Open Source community, and trying to merge S60's branch to Apple's WebCore, but Mini Map isn't itself Open Source. Or, in other words, they're contributing to the Open Source world, but only in the cases that they can directly profit with it...



I said it previously, but I guess I never blogged about it: I HATE the default key bindings for closing a tab in Mozilla stuff and in Gaim! I still think that ^W is the key combination to delete a word, not to delete a work!

"GNUnet Live System" Community Preview

The "GNUnet Live System" is a virtual machine (VM) for VMware and QEMU based on Debian GNU/Linux.

It is aimed towards new users who want to try GNUnet without installing or compiling it. Also, we want to take part in the VMware Challenge.

The VMware Player is gratis, QEMU is free software.

Please share your thoughts, improvement ideas and problems with us.

* preconfigured GNU/Linux base system
* easy to setup
* optional online-updates through apt

The link to the torrent file is below (just remove the .txt extension).

GNUnet-Live.zip.torrent.txt30.15 KB
GNUnet-Live-2.torrent.txt30.16 KB

libextractor 0.5.14 released

libextractor 0.5.14 released

This release fixes a recently reported security problem in the ASF plugin. It also fixes a security problem in the qt extractor (by re-writing it from scratch). The re-write also improves support for various Quicktime attributes. The mpeg extractor was changed to use libmpeg2 fixing a problem with occasionally wrong image dimensions.

LaTeX vs. Office's

I was talking about this over lunch with some Opera guys here on XTech, and then I attended to two presentations where people where talking about XML on your documents, and one of the presentations was in fact about ODF.

For all of those I wss just thinking .oO( damn, LaTeX does better than that for years! )

Well, now I just came across this rant that shows exactly my frustrations everytime I try to use an Office suite. Well, not all of them: the last time I has such stresses was because people tend to use .xls's for documents where you have to fill some fields... and when you must end with a printable version, it just SUCKS.

People, if you want WYSIWYG stuff, can you please at least add usabillity into it?

Motorola and Open Source

Motorola is really betting STRONG on Open Source... Cool!

XTech - day 2 - last part

So, this is the last time I'll be online today, so here's my last thoughts on the day. I met really interesting persons, talked about interesting stuff and the conference has been awsome overall. At the end of the day I was talking with the Jabber guy who did yesterday's presentation, and he gave me some insight about the things I was expecting to know when I decided to attend to his presentation, so that was really cool. Now, I'm just hanging in the hotel in my laptop, and I'll have to check if there's anyone here wanting to go elsewhere to dinner, or else I'm just going to get to eat by myself...

XTech - day 2 - part 4

Making Connections: Exploring new forms of semantic browsing

  • Devising a new model

  • Harpers Weekly Review

    • News archieve since 2000

    • Each event is tagged with date and keywords

    • Each tag is a link

    • But it lacks browsabillity...

  • Let's do something funny with this data...

    • In Flash (sucks :-P)

  • Tagging the news

    • Completely NEEDED

    • Tags have problems: "security fence" can be for ones what "Apartheid wall" is for others

  • Visualizing data

    • Visual display hard to combine with textual content

    • Interaction tools required to manipulate information

    • Apply appropriate limits to data text

    • picture == 1000 words

    • A visual taxonomy

      • Communicates ideas

      • Has consistent iconography

      • Imposes limits!

    • How to represent the data - A third dimension in Flatland

      • Isometric model, showing lime along z-axis

      • No geographical maps!

      • Icon sizes remain constant

      • Limit data transformation to time-based information

  • The query is the map!

    • Frame database query by manipulation visual elements

    • Distinguish between user input map and system output graph

    • TheyRule.net

  • Select and connect

This presentation has been somewhat boring... But the problem is probably mine, since the theme isn't that interesting to me... And this gal is COMPLETELY WRONG regarding to Flash.

In the end of XTech's day:

Wow, I'm quite tired! This was a really great day for conferences... I guess I'll now post this, and then find anyone to go for a walk on Amsterdam... And I can bet that today I'll get quite early at the Hotel ;-)

XTech - day 2 - part 3

Developing for the Personal InfoCloud

This presentation is actually called "Developing for The Come to Me Web"...

  • (past) I Go Get Web

    • We sought "their" information
    • Focus on content provided
    • One device
    • One use
    • Proprietary formats
    • Findability focus
    • Development metaphor was navigation
  • (now) Come To Me Web

    • "My information" is found or created
    • Focus on person using
    • Reuse
    • Attracting and keeping attracted (we want info about some stuff, but not about some other stuff)
    • Across devices
    • Open formats
    • Refindability focus
    • Development metaphor is attraction
  • Personal InfoCloud
    • This is the information one person want to have allways with him
    • As a matter of fact there isn't one person InfoCloud but four:
      • Personal InfoCloud
      • Local InfoCloud
      • Global InfoCloud
      • External InfoCloud
    • We have to make an effort to move valuable data from the external infocloud to one of the others
    • Developing to the Personal InfoCloud
      • First of all, we have to think allways about the person, he's what matters
      • Access to information
      • Organization of the information
      • Aware
        • Task (what's the data meant to be used)
        • Action (how can you use it)
        • Context (the number of disambiguities on Wikipedia shows us the importance of this)
    • Model of Attraction
      • How to attract the information to yourself?
        • The Intellectual Receptor
        • The Perceptual Receptor
        • Mechanical Receptor
        • Physical Receptor
    • Personal Information Workflow
      • Privacy...
      • People get info from local and global infoclouds and move data to the personal infocloud by:
        • Seeking
        • Recognizing
        • Retaining/Storing
        • Using/Creating
        • Following
    • Info Reuse
      • Mobility for data is really important... Thig guy should read about Ambient Networks
    • Information is needed, everywhere, with context
    • Build around people
    • Understanding Content: Assess what is provided (caution with this, have allways in mind that information is reused)
    • Assemble information for use:
      • Learn what people do with the information
      • Various use contexts
      • Usable formats for content object type
    • Rethhinking our information
    • External Structures
    • External Storage (how do we deal with data updates?)
    • Develop with Standasrds
      • Information offerings:
        • Structured
        • Flexible
        • Open Standards
        • Proprirtary or Applicvation-based Standards
        • API Friendly
      • Offer more than one option
    • InfoCloud sollutions (his contact)

Lunch time

So, I had lunch with this really cool people from Opera, who got me preety excited to attend to the presentations I had already decided to see on Opera stuff on mobile devices. Now, and before the first presentation of the afternoon, I'll try to check my e-mail...

The Intelligent Design of Microformats

So, this is the first presentation in the Foyer room I'm attending. The speaker is Ryan King, from Technorati.
The presentation can be downloaded here.

  • How to design and create formats.

  • theryanking.com

  • Technology

    • Conservative
    • add to the existing Web
    • minimum invention

  • Social

    • Promote, encourage, buid...

      • convergence
      • openness
    • not a...
      • standards body
      • proprietary project

  • Elevator Pitch - Designed for humans first
  • data format design - this isn't software development, you can't "teach" how to analyticly design a data format
  • User Centered Design
    • "web of data"
    • we need people to build the web of data
  • designing microformats
    • experiment - easy and cool, because people are open, and share thoughts, snippets,...
    • stread
    • iterate
    • watch
  • semantic markup - maintain is preery easy; converge to best practices too
  • Problem statement
    • identify the problem
    • are there any simpler problems? Can you simplify your original problem by dividing it in several easier simpler problems?
    • please please don't re-invent stuff!
    • is it really a problem?
      • ask around
      • you aren't special
      • you aren't that smart
  • Document Behaviour - use the stuff that already exists and make something based on that
    • Procedure
      • collect
      • deconstruct
      • compare

  • OK, so you really have a good idea for a microformat... what to do?

    • Proposal

      • write

      • try

      • feedback

      • iterate

    • Implementation by Scientific Method (as defined in Wikipedia), with a difference - results aren't publish only in the end, but during the whole process

In the end... MicroFormats don't convince me, at all, but the message that you shouldn't re-invent the wheel but yes extend its use is a preety good one.

BTW: graphical card crashed again on this laptop, and thins time I got to see a Kernel Oops. I really really need to do a kernel update here.

ODF: Our Document Future

So, this time it's the ODF presentation, by Donna Benjamin which I already met yesterday.

The presentation talks about three things:

  • Digital Preservation. Why does it matter?

    • Data must be preserved or it is lost. Since nowadays our data is digital, we have to digital preserve it

    • Conversion, Emulation, Migration, Encapsulation...

    • XML is free, readable, open, standard, multi-plataform, and so perfect since it won't age...

  • OpenDocument Format

    • Using an open format is REALLY IMPORTANT for so many reasons that I'll just not going to enumerate here

    • Despite what Donna says, in my oppinion is that, yes, ODF is really great, but it isn't "news"... You have stuff that has exactly the same advantages she said, like LaTeX. The only advantage of ODF to those matters is simply the massive use it has...

    • ODF _is_ the future... but has the concurrent from Micro$oft

  • Australian efforts on the Digital Preservation front

    • Australia's efforts just rulle :-P

    • vers isn't open, but do they know why?

Standardising Web Applications: Rich Web Clients at W3C

Dean Jackson from W3C and he works on Standardisation of Rich Web Clients, SVG, web on mobile phones and such.

He's looking about Standards in the Web 2.0 world. JavaScript applications are using the JS W3C's standard... There are criticisms about W3C not being concerned with the world wide web, but Dean are here to proove it wrong. Increment nowadays standards or create new ones? We don't need "one standard to rule'em all", we can support various approaches, but standards are needed.

Their focus:
* Web API's
* Web Application Formats
* Compund Document Formats

The W3C community is everyone using W3C works, and since everyone uses the web, everyone makes part of it.
* Standardise existing undocumented stuff
* Open channels of communication
* Get implementors involved

We don't have to jump from web 1.5 to 2.0, we don't need to re-invent HTML we're doing another version of it (HTML 5)...

Web API's Working Group:
* Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, Apple, W3C
* Openness - Live specs available via CVS; all technical discussion is public
* Specs:
1 XMLHttpRequest
2 Window
3 DOM Level 3 Events
4 Selector APIs
- XPath selectors
- CSS selectors (which is going to be released this week)
6 Future
- Client-side storage
- File upload
- Network++ (sockets?)
- <canvas> (the element and the API)
* Declarative cs. Programmatic
* Building a Web Operating System

Web Application Formats Working Group:
* HTML working group is needed?
* Web Forms 2.0
- simple extensions to HTML
- significant return for small cost
- some conflicts with XForms
- types like "range", "date", mark a field as "required" (this things are awsome!)
* XBL (they are going to try to adopt Mozilla's work on this)
* Access Control - allowing scripts to access resources from other domains (if I had this while contributing to HCL...)
* Widgets
- Packaging format and conventions
- Metadata for execution
- Media type
- discovery mechanisms
- preety cool to integrate desktop with web, a step to the "Web Operating System" (which I'm not sure I agree with)

Compound Document Formats Working Group - Framework and compounds

XTech - day 2 - part 2

Native to a Web of data: Designing a part of the Aggregate Web

"Internet will not listen to reason" - is the image we can see in the beggining of this talk. Tom is working at Yahoo! and before he worked at BBC, but he's talking about he's views and not BBC's or Yahoo!'s.

Design and Web 2.0 - Blogger started it

Web as an environement is changing...

What is the web changing into? Lot's of stuff is changing, but this presentation is going to concentrate about data and information. We're trying to walk into "an aggregate web of connected date sources and services"...

Web of data - A web of data sources, services for exploring and manipoulating data, and ways that users can get toguether.

Mashups - First we got a set of pages, then we got mash-up's, and now we're getting mash-up's of mash-up's. We'll get a network effect of services: Every new service can build on top of every other existing service - the web becomes a true platform

Consequences - massive creative possibilities; accelerating innovation; increasingly competitive services, componentised services and specialised services

Making money using the web of data:
* Use API's to drive people to your stuff
* Make your services more attractive and useful with less central development
* Use syndicated content as a platform
* At the end, you can turn your API as a pay-off service (or a better version)

Choosing what to build (in this environement)
* What can I build that will make web better?
* How can I add value to the Aggregate Web?

Open up your data, others will beneffict from it, and so you'll bennefict from their bennefict

Or you're the only player, or the winner will be the company that first reaches critical mass via user aggregation, and turns that aggregated data into a system service

Services doesn't need to create data, but can just exploring data or manipulating it

Architectural principles:
* Last year there was a presentation about "Designing Data for Reuse" by Matt Biddulph
* Data sources
* Standard ways of representing data
* Identifiers and URL's
* Mechanisms for distributing data
* Ways to interact with / enhance data
* rights frameworks and financial

1 - add valuue to the aggregated web
2 - you have to build to normal users, developers and machines
3 - Start by designing explorable data, not pages
4 - identify your first order objects and make them addressable (point to it, link to it, readable url's, ...)
5 - correlate with external identifier schemes (or coin a new standard)
6 - use readable, reliable and hackable URLs
* permanent references to resources
* have a 1-to-1 correlation with concepts
* use directories to represent hierarchy
* not reflect the underlyings technology
* reflect the structure of the data
* be predictable / guessable / hackable
* be as human readable as possible
* be - or expose - identifiers
7 - Build list views
* three core types of page: derstination, list-view and manipulation pages (flickr is an example)
8 - Create parallel data services (API's, Microformats, Parallel XML, RSS...)
9 - Everything should have an appropriate license (Creative Commons, for instance) so people know what they can do with your data (this is one thing I need to do...)

If you're running a business, use APIs to drive people to your stuff, make your services more attractive and useful with less central development

(this guy runs plasticbag.com or something like that)

(not really about this talk, but I need to take a look to feedrinse.com )
(not really about this talk, but I need to take a look to microformats.com )
(not really about this talk, but I need to take a look to odeo.com )

XTech - day 2 - part 1

Instead of a compilation, as I did yesterday, tomorrow I'll just write in here. If I get a way to post one part online, I'll turn this "day 2" into a set of several parts.

Good Morning:

The problem of being in an hotel near from Amsterdam, but not in it, is that it takes ages to get a cab in the morning... I didn't thought of that :-(

Ignorance is not a defense

The cab didn't arrive on time for me to catch this...

An open (data) can of worms

If Open Data is so good, why aren't more examples?

The technology and standards need to be better? They're good enough...

Does Open Data (open API's) give benneficts to a company? Most companies don't understand what API's are, and don't understand why would they give data when they're selling it... Take RSS feeds for exemple: there are advantages in having the RSS feed available, but it's not that easy to show it to business man... But opening an API isn't only about giving what can be selled. Having an Open API costs money. What can be done? He doesn't know :-P

If you want to create an open API, please:

  • Be aware of the problems
  • Demonstrate usefulness
  • Don't assume it's a technology probem
  • Target the right people
  • Talk about the benneficts to the provider, not the consumer
  • Have patience

XTech - day 1

Here is a compilation of stuff I wrote during this day:

In the afternoon:

This isn't yet a post about XTech itself (and it's presentations), but about being here. Since I finally found out where the power outlets are (yeah, I'm stupid), I have enough battery to write about stuff like that... Until now it is being amazing to know so many interesting people, and the presentations are being good. At lunch time, before going to my new hotel to check-in and leave my luggage, I met Donna, a really nice girl from Australia that is going to give the ODF presentation I said previously I want to attend to, tomorrow. I'll tell you again that you should be checking Planet Noori to be updated about this conference between other things, since it is aggregating more stuff than Planet XTech does. The wireless connection is still sucking heavilly (my wireless setup doesn't help much), and there are being some technical issues that are making the presentation "XML, REST, and SOAP at Yahoo" being late, so I guess I'll take this time to organize the notes I've been taking during the day...

In the end of XTech's day:

I'll consider yesterday my XTech's "day 0", and now it's the end of XTech's day 1... I've just attended to a presentation called "The power of declarative thinking" made by one of the creators of ABC (the language that inspired Python). I just have to say that he's an hell of a speaker, preety cool and convincing.

As a turn-down, I'm getting really pissed off with this laptop (as a matter of fact with Fedora Core 5). Probably it needs an update (even if it was installed and presumedly updated two days ago), but most of the times that I close the monitor Xorg just goes boom and there's no way to go to the console. Besides that, while I was in the last presentation, I just lost my keyboard. Thinking that a reboot or even a hard one would solve it, I tried to shut it down which crashed most of Gnome. So I just had to shut it down on cold, pressing the power button until it was turned off. I'm not 100% sure that this is not hardware problems (although there are no logs indicating such), but way to go Fedora.

At night, in the hotel:

First of all, I don't want to give you a wrong impression: I'm loving being here in Holland. After XTech, I visited (walking) a great part of the center of Amsterdam, so I'm really tired and will be quite short in my writtings tonight. But I think this city is awsome! Found a funny thing: they have here what they call "age coins": coins with no value at all that makes tobacco machines only work after you insert one of those! :-) On the other hand, the less expensive pack of cigarretes is Pall Mall, with 19 cigarretes and a price of 4,- € (they use - where we use 00), against the cigarretes I usually smoke, that besides being better ;-) have packs of twenty and cost only 2.75 € :-P I still didn't enter in any coffee shop (that's not a thing I want to do by myself, I expect to get on XTech someone who wants to go to one with me tomorrow), but then, even if I'm curious, I allways heard saying that being in Amsterdam and not smoking a joint is worse than being caught and convicted by a murder you didn't do. Well, I guess that tomorrow I'll get in jail, 'cause I'm a non-smoker (marijuana-wise). I passed by the Red Light District, and it was kind of disappointing for me. Don't get me wrong: I liked to see it live after hearing so much talk about it, but in the whole "district" I only saw like... 10? girls showing off, and I was expecting way way more. Instead of that, what you have it's a huge (more than business allow, I would think) ammount of porno movies stores, and then sex shops, some with cabins and some live shows theaters. Well, I saw it by myself, and that's what counts.

Regarding to XTech (you must find this whole posts completely boring, and I must try to convince myself they are usefull some way :-P ), this are the presentations I saw today:

  • Putting the BBC's Programme catalogue on Rails
  • Collaborative Atlas: Post geopolitical boundaries
  • Web 2.0 on Speed
  • Publish-subscribe using Jabber
  • XML, REST and SOAP at Yahoo
  • The power of declarative thinking

They are six instead of the eight I wanted to since I had those problems I described in past posts, but still, it was a full day earing lot's of cool stuff.

Putting the BBC's Programme catalogue on Rails

I thought I would loose this presentation, but after all I just lost it's beggining.

This presentation was made by Matt Biddulph (from hackdiary) which is a freelancer and ended his presentation saying "Hire me"... And you should.

BBC had a programme catalogue database full of information, some quite old (semi-historical), and, even knowing that there they had lot's of valuable information, they quite didn't know what to do with it. That information could be "read" (but not "surfed") in a green-screen application, but what Matt had in mind was to turn it into a Web 2.0 application, usefull not only to BBC, but to everyone (which, once again, is usefull to BBC). To do it, he used the exponencialy growing Ruby on Rails framework, because, as he almost said, everything really innovative being made on/to the Web is being done in Ruby on Rails. Of course that that isn't the only factor of decision. Rails was good because:
  • You can easilly have absolute and unique human-readable links for every page (and we're talking about gazillions of them)
  • Active Record makes it simple to do it
  • Ajax'ing your application is so easy that is painfull (as he demonstrated)
  • He draw numbers, and I wasn't quite convinced, but he said that RoR has way more performance. I won't even discuss that if you're comparing to big J2EE frameworks and stupid stuff like that, but RoR isn't the only thing you have against that kind of sollutions... I would like to discuss more about RoR performance, and maybe I will still have the opportunity to do it on this XTech.

Searches on applications like this are allways a pain in the ass (we're talking about fulltext searches). To get the job easilly done, he used an external API from Yahoo! that almost makes the work for him.

He also uses some Wikipedia API (I should search more about that one) to relate content of the BBC programs with Wikipedia's content. That's preety cool, specialy if you see not only that person "foo bar" was a special guest in some debate, but who is he and why is he there. I don't know if the interaction between BBC's RoR App and wikipedia is bidirectional, but it would really cool if it was.

He then talked a little about the application deployment, and I found it quite funny since it remembered my job in some aspects I won't discuss here. Mainly, he showed us that he needed no hyper-mega-giga-cluster to run the thing, so he has one machine doing the whole job (he knows that not having redundancy isn't such a good idea, but - and that shocked me - he wasn't worried about it. I think I'll try to talk with him and ask why...). He still works for BBC two days a month, for maintainance purposes.

Finaly, he left some words that sounded to me like he was trying to say this (which I agree): doing something interesting and doing it using RoR, is doing it Web 2.0.

Collaborative Atlas: Post geopolitical boundaries

It's getting late, so I can't be so descriptive as I was to the previous talk on this one. Since this presentation is on the web, at least for now I'll just leave to you the link to it.

Web 2.0 on Speed

Preety nice presentation. Fortunately for me someone else already blogged about this.

Publish-subscribe using Jabber

Sorry mate, but your presentation didn't cativate people (we've talked about this later, so you know what I mean). That's a shame, because the theme is really interested, I had a personal interest in it, and at the end you didn't went as further as I liked to on the issue.

The talk was about XMPP (Jabber) uses besides IM'ing, and what could be done. XMPP is a streaming XML technology that can be used in the Publish-Subscribe model to do some cool stuff, way cooler than what was mainly talked about (extended presence, where you say what's your mood or what you're listening to ATM) like Atom-over-XMPP (a good example given).

Here are some raw notes (I'll have to come to this later and explain them) I took during the presentation:

* What's the Publish/Subscribe scenario (pubsub)
* Types of pubsub
- Topic based pubsub
- Content based pubsub
- Notifications with change info
- Persistence
* Examples of pubsub
- GUI's
- Mailing Listgs
- Chat rooms
- Presence & contact lists
- Any system with event handlers, callbacks, signals and slots
* pubsub in Jabber
- Misuse of
- Groupchat is poor man's pubsub
- Generic pubsub system:
* Publish Subscrive Service (Mediator)
* Publisher (Subject)
* Subscriber (Observer)
* what can be done
- Extended Presence:
* Geolocation
* Address
* User Mood
* User Activity
* User Tune
- News / Weather
- 'Mailing Lists'
- Emergency Alerts
- System Administration (Spong-like)
* Who's doing it? Psi is, but there are other apps doing it... Like one used
as a newsreader
* How is it done:
News source ----- service
.news bot <---> jabber client
`-webserver --- browser

Yeah, I had the time to do an ASCII drawing, so see how bored I was...

XML, REST and SOAP at Yahoo

This was undoubtly the best presentation I attended during this day. It wasn't the best theme nor the best orator, but the combination was blasting awsome. Man, I totally agree with all of what you've said, and had a couple of good laughs (and stares) with your fully-truthfull bashing on Java, J2EE and SOAP sollutions using it.

The presentation was so good that I just forgot to type when you talked, so I just took some notes about it's beggining. But this is something I must fix, I'll write a big issue about this talking at a later time.

Sorry people, but I don't see any point of posting my notes, since they aren't "incomplete" in a sense of "short", they are only covering the first minutes of the talk... I'll try to fix it ASAP.

The power of declarative thinking

The theme was quite different that what I was expecting (my fault, tho). Steve Pemberton, from W3C/CWI, was one of the creators of ABC (the father-language of Python), and didn't stopped with it. He's an hell of a speaker, convincing, and, well... I liked his pose while talking. He talked about the requirements for Web Apps, about the fact that we have lot's of computing power and usually let them idle'ing while we're doing our job - jobs that most of the time could be mady by the computer and not by ourselves. He talked about the inderpinnings necessary to make Web 2.0 follow the spirit and development the "first version of World Wide Web" had. It's a hard road, but with speakers like himself maybe we'll get to there.

The end...
Well, for today I already tiped much, and I'm so sleepy you can't imagine (the lack of quality in the coffee might justify part of it)· So, this is it. I'll write more when I find the time to do it... Until then, if you're finding this set of posts interesting, you might want to read more about XTech here.

Note to self
I should fix three issues of my Planet ASAP, hopefully tomorrow.


Being at XTech

Before everything said, the proceedings for XTech 2006 are now online.

This isn't yet a post about XTech itself (and it's presentations), but about being here. Since I finally found out where the
power outlets are (yeah, I'm stupid), I have enough battery to write about stuff like that... Until now it is being amazing to know so many interesting people, and the presentations are being good. At lunch time, before going to my new hotel to check-in and leave my luggage, I met Donna, a really nice girl from Australia that is going to give the ODF presentation I said previously I want to attend to, tomorrow. I'll tell you again that you should be checking Planet Noori to be updated about this conference between other things, since it is aggregating more stuff than Planet XTech does. The wireless connection is still sucking heavilly (my wireless setup doesn't help much), and there are being some technical issues that are making the presentation "XML, REST, and SOAP at Yahoo" being late, so I guess I'll take this time to organize the notes I've been taking during the day...

The Journey begins

And so, the journey begins. As you know if you're a regular reader of this blog, I'm a Portuguese guy heading to XTech'06 in Amsterdam, that begun today with the tuturials and Ajax day, but I'm only going to attend to XTech conferences, from tomorrow (wednesday) until friday. It's also friday my flight back to Portugal, so unfortunately I'll have not much of a chance to know Amsterdam as I wanted to...

I had the information that I had to do my check-in until 13:30, but it seems that I have to do the check-in not until but after 13:30, so I'm still in Lisbon's airport having a meal and writting this... The laptop I'm going to use during this time had hard-drive problems, so it was re-instaled yesterday and today. It's the first time I'm using Fedora Core 5, but until now I saw no differences between it and FC4 - probably because this laptop is with Gnome and I'm a KDE user... And damn, I have 24 minutes of uptime and already miss KDE!

Wireless related, I have to say that acx drivers quite suck, but, well... at least they work. Thumbs up to Gnome's NetworkManager that knows how to deal with the drivers better than me doing it manually ;-) It seems (and this is news for me) that it is usual on Airports to have Wireless Access Points where you can see a limited amount of information for free, and then have connection to several (in this airport they are three) Internet Service Providers that will give you a wireless connection for a small price. Since I don't have (and don't want to) an account on any of those listed, I'm just writting this offline and I'll post it when I get a free Internet connection :-P

In the beggining of the day, since one meeting I had suffered a small delay, I got the time to update Planet Noori to show more info/posts about XTech '06. So, if you want to read more about this and I don't update my blog that often, take a look there! :-) And since Debconf is also running, you'll get the possibility to read about that too. At least that's what I'm doing now: since I have no internet connection on my laptop ATM, I'm just reading it from my cellphone, which reminds me that I really hate RSS feeds that don't feed the whole post but only the first 'x' words, for an allways smaller than good value of 'x'.

I intend to take some pictures on this trip, but those will only be uploaded when I get back to Portugal. Until now, I've just taken one to the Airport: after all I'll use the pictures as a "travel log".

Hmm, I should buy a souvenir of sorts from Amsterdam,... I wonder if I'll have the time to get something like that.

Note to self: next time I do something like this, I have to get the time to put some piece of software to hack on the laptop, so I can stop bitching about not having the time needed to contribute to OSS as much as I wanted to and, mainly, so I don't find myself testing the games that come in Gnome. :-P BTW - Don't you hate this games like nibbles that uses your login name as the name to which they attribute the hi-score? Sucks.

Some hours later, 21:31...

I just had some of the most stressfull moments of my life. To make a awfully long history short, I arrived at the airport and caught a cab to drive 30 Km's to the opposite side of Amsterdam, Leiderdorp, where I supposedly had a reservation on the Íbis hotel there for the night. Well, it seems that there should have been some kind of confirmation that wasn't made for people who would arrive past 18:00, so they had no rooms left. Furthermore, there were no rooms left there nor in any other Íbis hotel in the whole country. Furthermore, there were no hotels AT ALL in the whole country. It seems that there's happening a convention in Amsterdam about something that made the whole country full. So what could I do? The advice that they made me was to go to Amsterdam and crash in a bar or something like that until morning. WOW, amazing. Fortunately, for a strike of luck, there was a pension (where I am now) that got 5 vacant rooms from a canceled reservation. Now I'm there: the room sucks but has a nice view (which isn't surprising since everything here has a nice view, at least for all that I've seen - you've got to love this green areas!) and, at least, I have where to crash for the night. One problem is that I only have a slightlest clue of where the fuck I am: somewhere between southeast of Amsterdam and east of Leiden, and I can bet I can manage to get some Heinkein here at the bar (the restaurant closes at 8 o'clock!) since I have the idea (which isn't much fgor someone who lacks sense of orientation like me) that Heinkein is somewhere in between Leiden and Rijndijk, which is the nearest "populational center" from this hotel. Of course that not having internet here doesn't help much my orientation... And there are no AP's in the area (which means in the Hotel, since there's nothing in the Hotel's area anyway).

Well, at least I can look through the balcony (even if I don't want to, there's nothing separating my room from it) and watch the calm of that pair of horses just eating some grass... And I'm really much more relaxed now than I was half an hour ago.

At least I've brought lot's of SG Ventil (Portuguese cigarrettes) to take my stress out, so I guess I'll just smoke one and then I'll try to find what can I eat in the bar...

BTW - It seems that after all there's a wireless connection in this hotel. The signal sucks and it is one of those payed services, so I guess I'll wait until I am on XTech to get a connection...

Later yet, 23:13...

WTF? After all the restaurant here (and this hotel's restaurant is the only one here) closes at 19:00, and then you only have restaurants in Leiden, that closes at 22:00! As it was almost that when I knew it, I had to convince the bartender in the hotel's bar that, despite they usually not sell any kind of food, he had to make me a steak, which he did :-) As a matter of fact, if I'm only talking about the meat, it was the best steak I ever ate, but to compensate the rest just sucked. To add that, I got the confirmation that this country has an horrible coffee (and he was shocked to have someone asking him for coffee that wasn't Irish Coffee after dinner) and the beer was "Amstel", not the one I can find in Portugal, but one worse (and worse than Heinkein). BTW, if you ever come here, never ask a refill of beer: they not only refill it (using the same glass), but before that they do the most disgusting thing I ever saw happening to a glass of beer. So, breakfast tomorrow starts at 6am and ends at 7am, and I'll have to make sure I won't loose it. So, being this late (for their standards it's WAY LATE), I guess I'll just shutdown the laptop, set up the alarm clock and several alarms in my cellphone (btw, thumbs up to Õptimus and the way the agreement is between them and Orange), and read one more chapter of "The Big U" in hope that I'll get some sleep. Damn, it's not even 23 o'clock in Portugal!

The following day, 10:18

Well, as you can almost imagine, the problems were not the ones I already knew - as a matter of fact the problems were just starting to begin. But first let me get something straight: after all the place I was yesterday was really an hotel, as a matter of fact it was a 3 stars hotel. I never have been in a pension as bad as that hotel, 'tho... and, the funniest part comes now, I was in the supposedly best room, and guarenteedly the most expensive of the whole hotel, what they called the "double suite with jacuzzi" or something like that. They call jacuzzi to a regular bathtub when it is broken, it seems. After all that, having noise problems, passing throught a power shortage that turned the alarm clock off, having a nightmare for five minutes because one ATM was telling me that I couldn't withdraw any money, well - you name it - I made the best to be as soon as possible in Amsterdam (I still didn't had any breakfast - my stomach is aching), but still it was 10:15 in the morning when the train where I am departed, from Leiden Centraal to Amsterdam Centraal. I have no cle about how many time this train will take, but I certainly know that I've already lost two presentations and I'll probably loose the third. The first one (about startups), despite being quite interesting, wouldn't be giving me any usefull knowledge work-wise, but the others (about 'participation platform' and 'Ruby on Rails') would.

At the moment I'm stopped in Schiphol station (the Airport one), so I think there's only one station left to Amsterdam Centraal... Let's see if I can manage to attend to the rest of XTech's day, even knowing that I'll have to get out of Amsterdam again to today's hotel during lunch time, to check-in and leve there my bag... *sight* Until now, this travel was nothing but stressful.

At least, this country is beautiful...


With 41% of wireless signal I still didn't have enough stable connection to the internet to post this. Anyway, XTech is running and I think that I'll only compile the info about it at night, and try to post it tomorrow.


Ranting on digg

It's no secret at all that I never liked folks on digg. Bare with me, I just don't. But, what the hell?, they keep nailing themselves!

Some time ago Steve Thompson found a security vulnerability on digg. Now, the attittude expected is something in the lines of "no piece of software is perfect, if someone found a bug and reported it was cool, because he isn't exploiting it, cool, thank you, we're going to fix it". Of course this hasn't happened - after all it's the digg crew we're talking about.

I'm just going to quote Steve:

In an email I recieved later one of their developers told me that unless I can show them otherwise, they would not consider this a security problem, and would not fix it.

Of course that's only their way of not admitting they had an issue (oh no! people must think we're perfect 1337 h4x0rs!), and not admiting it, they've silently fixed the problem, and now if you try to exploit them, you'll get an "Incident has been logged - hope you enjoyed the site while you had a chance" message.

Way to go, assholes, that's a great way of asking for people to stop properly bug reporting your issues and start to just exploiting them. Above all, you're disrespecting your users in having such attitudes.

Salt, please

I'm not an Web 2.0 advocate, nor an Bubble 2.0 one. But I really think that these guys, from both parts, should take all this technologies with a BIG CHUNK OF SALT, please. You know why does it sucks to be 'web2.0'? Is that if you have the right ideas (innovative, user-centric ones) and the time and knowledge to implement them, the right way, you're still not an 'webbie'. And if you think that Web 2.0 is stupidly over-hyped, you're still not a 'bubbler'. You have to act as an advocate, you have to make part of the fight. Well, want to know?, fuck you, both parts. Yes, I'm code, I have innovative ideas (even not having the time to implement them), I think that I know something about the technologies involved, and I'm certainly aware of the development of what's happening. But then, I'm usually looking to this issues as an user, and despite all of you being talking about users and user-centric apps, I only see beautifull useless services, hard fights and discussions, and no innovation nor user-centric new apps. One example I often give talking about that is about the gazzillions of webapps that exist to manipulate RSS feeds in one way or another and the fact that, despite that, noone made such a simple thing as a 'blogger-like' service to let users create their own planets. Yes, it doesn't have that much of innovation - but who cares? I, as an user, don't want "a completely new idea", I just want to have a service that's useful for me, and that is something I can't get. Hopefully there are a couple of other ideas that I have as "something that I would love to use if existed" and that might see the light of day on a not-some-distant future (thanks to 'webbies', yes). But yet, please fight (or say) less and show us more pratical examples of what you think.

PS -> I have nothing against people that are webbies or bubblers. Both sides have people that I dislike and people that I admire (between those that I couldn't care less about and those who I tend to like). I just start being satured of this "hype me" and fighting attitudes that serves us nothing but to make people loose credebility of both parts. There's a real world out there, you know?


Planet Noori

I finaly decided to do something about the way I have to read Planet Noori. I'm using a Motorola ROKR with Opera Mini, but hopefully this link will work in any web browser. So, what did I do? I've just created a light version of Planet Noori.

Still needs lot's of tweaks, and then I'll have to find a way of get better feeds to replace those who have something to do with Blogger's utterly broken ones, and then... Planet Noori will be ugly but fully functional.

PS -> I'm start hating external API's...

Google Trends

Google Trends is The New Thing(TM) from Google Labs. Not a "needed" thing, but an "usefull" one. Moreover, it's well designed. Thumbs up.

Hosting for Free

Well, since I've started to write about cool stuff on the web (see two posts below), I'll just link here to a service that someone pointed me out about and, even don't having an use for it, I find extreemely cool - a Free hosting service (Apache httpd) that is really free, and gives you access to php, mysql and lot's of stuff like that, with no banners at all! Check it out here if you're interested...


Wow, for the first time in my whole life, I saw elinks crashing. I'll try to reproduce it later.


I must fix Planet Noori so it can be read on my cellphone again.


I'm not usually into doing some publicity to companies/websites, and I usually only review websites/webapps when they're related to new technologies and stuff like that. For instance, even here on my weblog I've already spoke some times about Web 2.0 applications. But today I'll do something different, not to do publicity but because I think this is an example of a preety good online service.

Yesterday I was trying to find out an hotel to crash on Amsterdam during XTech, since the "usuals" are already full (no shit, I'm trying to find an hotel less then one week before the event!). After messing around with the results Google gave me on my searches, I finaly found BOOKINGS - online hotel reservations. As the name says, this is an website only devoted to book yourself in an hotel. The website is 10 years old, and is no Web2.0 app, no fancy stuff, no clean graphics, but still - and that was what surprised me - a great bunch of usability features: it's user driven and not feature driven! What was great. To show to you the kind of (good) experience you can have with this site, I'll just tell you what I did, as an example. Take in consideration that it was the first time I was seeing this website in my life.

So, I have an "where to" place where I've wrote "Amsterdam", and "from" and "until" dropdowns where I said for which period I wanted an hotel. While I was writting Amsterdam, it showed me which entries there was beggining with the letters I've already typed. Really usefull sometimes, like when you don't know how to spell the name of a city, for instance. It was not my case, but cool anyway. Clicked on search. The result was "Amsterdam city or Amsterdam airport". I want the city so I clicked there. Now, the usual - a list of hotels in Amsterdam. I saw the "240 hotels known" and though "cool, they have a nice database". But choosing an hotel sucks. So I just sighted and was going to click on the first... When I noticed that there was a map there. I clicked on the map (no fancy Google Maps stuff) and saw the city with zoom in/out options and full of clickable items - the various hotels of the city. So, I clicked on the hotel the conference is going to be, and as I've already knew, it was full. But I then clicked "hotels near here" and suddenly had a small list (two pages) of the hotels that still had rooms for the period I wanted, near the conference. I just had to choose by the stars I wanted in the hotel, and chose the most near (400 meters, in fact) of those... Simple!

XTech preview podcast

People in cafeJean Paoli speakingAmsterdam rooftopsXTech delegats

As I've told you before, I'm going to attend to XTech 2006, next week in Amsterdam.

It seems that there will be an XTech podcast, and it's first issue is already available. While they work on getting the link into the RSS and Atom feeds, you can grab the audio from here: xtech_2006_001.mp3.

In this first edition, Lee Wilkins interviews XTech programme chair Edd Dumbill about the content of the upcoming conference.

The podcast, in further issues, will bring interviews and excerpts from the conference over the course of the coming weeks.



September, 2006

Lisbon, Portugal

SHIFT is a new conference that is going to happen in Portugal. Read more about it here.


Feed Aggregator

Dear Lazyweb,

I once saw a website that provided me a real cool Feed Aggregator: I fed it with a list of feeds and it would return me one only feed with the result, ordered by date of entry. I'm lazy sometimes so I forgot to bookmark it and now I can't seem to be able to find it anymore. Can you please tell me where that great webapp is?

GNUnet 0.7.0d released

Download GNUnet 0.7.0d here. gnunet-gtk is a separate download and can be found here.
This is a bugfix release for 0.7.0c. It fixes various bugs:

  • Content migration of on-demand blocks had some problems, resulting in corrupt data being transmitted (and warnings being printed by receiving peers)
  • Priority of uploaded IBlocks was left at zero, resulting in these blocks being wrongfully discarded for migrated content once the quota was reached
  • Minor bugs in the routing code made the hot-path routing not as effective as it should have been
  • Peers sometimes advertised a bandwidth limit of 0 and then failed to properly close a connection, resulting in wrongful blacklisting the other peer for quota violations
  • Switching from streaming to message-based transports could occasionally fail to refragment messages in the queue, resulting in dropped messages and warnings
  • Long-running machines could cause an integer overflow resulting in an extremely high calculated CPU load causing GNUnet to try to conserve CPU needlessly
  • Indexing files larger than 2 GB fixed by properly using stat64 (on systems where this is supported)
  • Various improvements in handling of translations / internationalization
  • Various minor bugs in the threading code resulted in unnecessarily long delays, especially during shutdown of gnunet-search and gnunet-gtk
  • Various minor memory leaks
  • Many cosmetic improvements to gnunet-search and gnunet-gtk
Memory use for 0.7.0d should stabilize at a lower level compared to 0.7.0d. For a 65536 entry gap routing table size, the savings should be on the order of 7 MB. gnunet-gtk now supports sorting for the various tables. Upgrading to 0.7.0d should be trivial, simply recompile, install, stop gnunetd, run gnunet-update and restart gnunetd



Ano iv14 Sol 15° Taurus, Luna 19° Leo Dies Veneris.

Merry Beltane.


XTech 2006: “Building Web 2.0”

People in cafeJean Paoli speakingAmsterdam rooftopsXTech delegats
XTech 2006: “Building Web 2.0” — 16-19 May 2006, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I'll be there, from the 17th until the 19th.

XTech 2006 is the premier European conference for developers, information designers and managers working with web and standards-based technologies. XTech brings together the worlds of web development, open source, semantic web and web standards.

XTech 2006 will take place from 16-19 May in the heart of Amsterdam, at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Dam Square.

The theme for 2006, "Building Web 2.0", recognises the key place of standards-based and open technology in enabling the next generation of web applications. Practitioners and leaders from all disciplines are invited to participate in presenting and discussing the technology and design issues behind the changing web.

Building on the success of last year's conference, this year's tracks include:

Formerly known as the XML Europe conference, XTech has widened its scope to incorporate neighboring technologies from the web and business. As the use of XML broadens out beyond traditional core topics, we want to reflect that in the conference. As well as XML, XTech 2006 will cover web development, weblogging, search, the semantic web and more.

If you're also going to XTech, please drop me an e-mail so we can talk to each other live, or something like that!


libextractor 0.5.13 released

libextractor libextractor is a library used to extract meta-data from files of arbitrary type. It is designed to use helper-libraries to perform the actual extraction, and to be trivially extendable by linking against external extractors for additional file types.

libextractor 0.5.13 has been released.

This release adds Vietnamese and Swedish translations. Some minor changes to improve portability and internationalization were made. The wordleaker plugin was integrated into the OLE2 plugin, which is now based on libgsf (new dependency!) and extracts more and more accurate metadata.

Find it here.

Pandora big improovement

Starting last night, Pandora's playlist system suffered from a big upgrade so that now when we collectively tell them that a song is a terrible fit for a particular station, they listen and everyone listening to that station benefits from the feedback. Read more about that on Pandora's blog.

I obviously think that there's still lot's of work to do on Pandora (namedly getting a decent player instead of the Flash one, or at least having a non-flash alternative), but I really like their effort of allways being improoving...


Virtual World / Real World

Travis Ross wrote on Terra Nova:

I recently wrote a term paper on virtual worlds (by managing to tie it into communication in electronic environments), and I thought of a couple ideas that might be an interesting twist on the future of virtual worlds. People have been arguing that ICTs bend our concept of time and space. (IE. Cell phones/handhelds allow your boss/colleges to reach you when you are on the road, turning personal time into work time.) Now, what made this class fun was I tried to think of every discussion in terms of virtual worlds. Looking at virtual worlds in this way, I wondered what might happen when an organization starts utilizing a virtual world for something like distributed teamwork. Perhaps, in the future of virtual worlds you get home from a hard day at work, you’re just chilling out living it up in The Sims VII and your phone rings. Of course, it’s your boss. He desperately needs you to give a presentation for some clients in China, so being the good employee you are you log out of the Sims and into your company’s virtual world. Here you meet with the Chinese clients and present an Open Office :D Slideshow presentation for them. Now we have virtual worlds changing the way we interpret time and space, and perhaps not really for the better.

Now, I find this as a very plausible long-term future for Virtual Worlds. And you?

On this issue, I just want to remark that one thing you'll surely need, and you start to see rough attempts of doing it, is integration. Virtual Worlds has become just one multimedia form of reality, and media has to conglomerate, trying to milk all possible value from their IPs. Maybe this will start massively to happen with the arrival of Ambient Networks? That, itself, can be a dangerous future. Will we be able to implement something like GNUnet over an Ambient Network? Or will we be "forced" to abdicate from Privacy and Anonimity?

I guess that the next five years won't be that exciting in terms of Virtual Worlds, but I wish I could be there to see in 15 years or so... Will we be walking towards a "Ghost in The Shell" world?


Updated: pylibpcap is already on Debian: see here.

Room 404 - File Not Found

Room 404 is a blog created by Mistress Violeta, that kindly invited me to participate in.

What's room 404? We're here to talk to you about the fact that aren't talked about, in art. Since the begginings that true art hides in itself more than it shows. A piece of art enclosures in itself remaints of the artist and the art itself. Are you ready to see what's behind Art?

An example of what you can expect to read there is the Marilyn Manson posts I've been doing here - having a place where they fit, I'll post them there instead.

Linux Kernel is out

The latest stable version of the Linux kernel is: 2006-05-01 19:17 UTC F V VI C Changelog

Opening the Gates to the Celebritarian Corporation

The official Marilyn Manson website has been updated yet again. At this time, only the main Celebritarian Corporation splash/intro page appears. Recent revelations have suggested that the main website may be accessible upon opening a series of "gates" on the intro page.

First of all, please take into consideration the fact that this riddle is made in Macromedia Flash 8, which means that if you have a previous version of Flash, it won't work for you.

The gate keys discovered thus far are explained below:

Gate 1: Wait for all elements of the splash page to appear . Wait for the Hitchcock speech audio to conclude and the double cross to fade to a darker gray. When you roll over the double cross, down in the bottom corner, small numerals will go from IV to III. Lleft click once, and then press 1. hen you'll get a flash of the Manson Mickey Face with mouth open.

Gate 2: Wait a moment until the cross fades back to dark gray. Roll over it with your mouse cursor and a small 'V' will appear in the bottom of it. Left click once again, and press v on the keyboard. You should then get another flash and sound. Wait several moments and the cross will eventually turn red.

After the cross turns red, rolling over it will cause "IIV to III" appear again. Click the double cross once more and then press 0 (zero). The music will stop and the Guns, God, and Government "Olde Tyme" song with a speech by reverend Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Bjornwad has posted findings regarding the speech and McGee on an online community.

Disassembling the flash files, we can reach the conclusion that, for now, these are the only gates available to be opened, but that may be true only for now...

From now on, this issue and updates I intend to do on it won't be made here but on Room 404, the place where this kind of posts fits.. In the meantime, you can discuss the updates on the largest Marilyn Manson community online.