Money ruins everything

There's a great article in the Escapist magazine (great content, bad usability website) that talks about the use of virtual currency and real money in virtual worlds. There's also some comments on it at Terra Nova. The article goes about how all this thing affects kids, but the cool sum up is on Terra Nova, with the simple claim that "money ruins everything".

Interesting reading.


Oops, DMCA is bad after all

Here's a video called "Digital Dystopia at McGill". It's description says, and I quote,
"DMCA architect Bruce Lehman has admitted that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well" and "our attempts at ... all » copyright control have not been successful". Speaking at conference in Montreal (video at 11:00), Lehman lay much of the blame at the feet of the recording industry for their failure to adapt to the online marketplace in the mid-1990s."

What's up in that video? Well, Bruce Lehman, who heads the International Intellectual Property Institute, acknowledges that "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well" and "our attempts at copyright control have not been successful" (talking about the DMCA). That's right, DMCA is plain sick. And now? Are you going to do something to fix your mess?

GooveShark quite sums up what's to be said about this issue, and I recommend its reading. Here's a quote:
Who knew the disabled would suffer as a result of the DMCA’s creation back in 1998? Who knew WIPO would attempt to snuff podcasting under the guise of “protecting broadcasting organizations?” Who knew the RIAA would file suit after suit after preposterous suit in a feeble attempt to avoid the inevitable?The article evolves into a sum up of what's happening in the music industry, and what can happen in the future.

Microsoft idea of DRM

Sometimes we get some news on leaks from Microsoft internal info, and it just happened once again. Instead of talking about the high-profiling Microsoft does on people to whom they talk, molding their speech according to it, I'll just quote a little big of that internal memo:
“Recent articles from Wired journalists have positioned Microsoft in a somewhat skeptical light including criticism around Vista’s graphics card requirements and disadvantages of Soapbox including strict DRM”

Phew. Well, at least THEY KNOW that DRM'd products are in disadvantage to their costumers. Even if they don't say it...


Violence in the Internet

This could be no big news - when you start to get noticed real big in a real big community, it's easy to predict that you'll be loved by some, hated by some others. In online communities it can be nastier - I don't believe that people online are different, but lots of them act different. People usualy blame on anonymity, I don't. I even like anonymity. No, the issue is that people usually have their thoughts repressed, and in the Internet they feel unusualy free to act as they are. I've taken my share of threats in the past, and yet this could be no big news.

But this? It's disgusting, it makes me sick. Congratulations, you've affected a nice persons life just for the joke of it. Now stop. Reactions started taking place everywhere, the most mediatic probably being Scoble's. But I'm not here to say that people should massively react (as they already are), nor that I think right or wrong on Scoble's reaction. Or nothing else. Actions like the oces made against Kathy are just sick - we all agree on that, all but some sick bastards that should be interned in some secure psychiatric facility. But I don't think that this is a problem os "blogging", nor "privacy", nor "anonymity" nor "IT world" or anything of those things I read about on the reactions. No, this is a social problem reflected in the global scope of the so-called "civilized world".

The problem did not appear with the internet. The problem is in our own society. The issue here is that Internet is this thing that lets you be more like yourself. For good and evil.

Comments like those of Eric Rice make me be more sure of what I just said. It's not the stupid law that lets you have a gun that will solve humans' violence. And "concealed weapons permit" is not self defense.

To Kathie: I really hope you get better and stop being so stressed about it. And I encourage you to keep working with the police in order to stop those asholes. You talk about "creating passionate users" and in the process you created a blog with passionate readers. We like you and your presence on the web - if you decide to stop blogging you'll surely be missed, but understanded. All the best.

GNUnet 0.7.1c released

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

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

Todays news: download GNUnet 0.7.1c and gnunet-gtk 0.7.1c here. For the first time, we also have a release of gnunet-qt.
The most significant change is that expired content will no longer be propagated or shown to end-users. As a result, expect to see significantly fewer search results, but also significantly higher download success rates.
This release fixes a couple of other bugs discovered in 0.7.1b and adds a few minor features:
  • Added support for IO load detection
  • Enabled abortion of gnunet-peer-info with CTRL-C
  • Fixed potential deadlock during download shutdown sequence (could impact any GNUnet download application)
  • Fixed handling of -d option by gnunet-download
  • gnunet-gtk shows a few additional statistics and uses less CPU for statistics processing
  • Issues with wrong paths for gettext (internationalization) in gnunet-gtk have been fixed

Finally, gnunet-gtk has been replaced by gnunet-qt in the Windows package.
Updating should be trivial but gnunet-update will run much longer than usual. Please see UPDATING.


O DRM e a Indústria Discográfica

Are you in Portugal? Do you understand Portuguese? Wondering what to do this weekend? Welcome to the Lan Party Moita! These are free entry events:

LPM Palestras:
Apresentação do Alinex | Dia 24 - 10:00
O DRM e a Indústria Discográfica | Dia 24 - 16:00
Demoscene: Arte Digital em Tempo Real | Noite de 24 para 25

And, well, I'm the one talking about DRM ;-)
See you tomorrow!


Debian Installer Etch Release Candidate 2 released

Debian logo

This is already three days old news: Debian etch (4.0) RC2 is out there. To see the release schedule and what has to happen until the final Debian 4.0 comes out to the wild, check this. The nicest thing (for me, it is) of this release is this:

With this release of the installer, Debian also offers some new types of CD/DVD images:
  • a full CD that installs a KDE desktop environment by default
  • a full CD that installs an Xfce desktop environment by default
  • a multi-architecture CD for i386/amd64/powerpc and one for alpha/hppa/ia64 that effectively behave like a netinst CD (the images contain the base system for all three architectures)
  • a multi-architecture DVD for i386/amd64/powerpc which also includes source packages; this makes the image ideal for promotion purposes at trade shows and other events

And now, let's go splash some bugs...


Understanding games

This links are specially aimed for those creating games: here are some fun but simple interactive presentations that will remind you of some key issues with games...

Congratulations to the authors, you did an excelent job on having a fun way of transmiting your "lessons". I'm waiting for episode 4...

Understanding games:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3


Food for thoughts

A quote:

One economic reason is that music is pure information. In economics, information is a devil -- it's impossible to manage. For example, the whole of economic theory is the theory of scarce resources. If milk is freely available, then the price of milk is down; if milk is scarce, the price is up: this is economic theory. But it doesn't work for music; it doesn't work for information as a whole. If I have a pot of milk, and I give it to you, I don't have it anymore. But if I give you a piece of information I still have it, I keep it. Which means that if I have something and I give it to you, I create something new: abundance. And this means that economic theory doesn't work for information, when that information can be separated from its material support - a CD, or whatever is the case today.

Read the full article here.

Stuff I've been doing lately

Well... Since I didn't post for a while, here's a quickie:

Friday I met two nice restaurants and two good wines. With the company, it was joyful. Arrived late at home, so Saturday I only took the train to Coimbra after dinner. On the train I almost prepared the presentation about the Music Industry and DRM for next saturday in Moita - Portugal. I have to cut it off a lot since I have only one hour (Q/A included) and almost 60 slides.

One thing that bothers me a lot is that stupid thing so many people started to innocently claim after Steve Jobs saying it, and one example (the latest I read) can be seen here: the claim that (physical) CD's aren't infected with DRM. Unfortunately, that's untrue.

Yesterday I finally tried to use my cellphone as a modem, via bluetooth. I wasn't really into it since everyone claimed it was a pain in the ass. Well... It wasn't. I just did

sudo /etc/init.d/bluetooth start
sudo modemlink

chose, "bluetooth", and activated bluetooth on my cellphone (Motorola E1, for the record). It found the cellphone, and asked if that's what I wanted as my modem. Clicked yes. After that

sudo gprsconnect

It asked what my cellphone operator was, but it is none of those listed. So, I chose "other", clicked "connect"... Et voilá! It couldn't be easier.

One bad thing in the talkers world is that all the talker bases there are aren't being developed anymore. Sometimes some vapourware appears, but the smoke soon dissolves. The exception for that is Mamnuts and PyTalker, unfortunately both maintained by me. Which also means that if I stop working on that... Well, not anymore. A new effort as arised, and I hope it won't be vapourware. Tints purposes a talker standard and a protocol. Around the protocol itself an implementation of it in C will appear, and python bindings for it. Then, a server, a talker (notice the separation, compare with a webserver and a website) and a client. The first client is not going to be a telnet interface, but you can virtually create any kind of client, from an interface to telnet, telnet-ssl, an webite, a XMPP plugin, an interface to Second Life... Well, you name it. The concept is really good, and if it doesn't die, I'm almost surely to be an early adopter.

Finaly... SellABand appears to be down. Anyone knows something about it? Update: Finaly, it replies. 500 Internal Server Error. Update 2: Hmm, seems that it just suffered an update.


GNUnet on SoC 2007

A few weeks ago, Google announced that there will be a Summer of Code 2007. "SoC" is a program where Google pays students stipends to work on open source programs over the summer. Each student is paired with one or more mentors from the open source community and works on a project over the summer.

Just as last year, GNUnet and its related projects will take part this year again. More info about that here.

News on Debian 4.0 (etch)

This is official Debian news, and all released by now, but since so many people keep asking me this, and some of them read my blog, here are the latest Debian etch news:
  • We wanted only 40 RC bugs by yesterday. At this exact moment we only have 32 (please consider helping to reduce this number);
  • By the 19th we want to have only 20 RC bugs.
  • The second release candidate, debian-installer RC2, is to be released at the 19th or the 20th. Please consider testing it exaustively and reporting issues as they arise.
  • At the 26th we want to have no RC bugs at all. Time to work on the release notes.
  • 2nd of April, release time.



MyToonsStill buggy, MyToons came out of beta today. What's MyToons? Basicly a website in the likes of YouTube, but only with non-x-rated animations. From their website:
MyToons.com is the world's greatest online animation community. It's the place where people who really love animation - from seasoned industry pros to rabid animation fans - can upload and share their creations and animated favorites with the entire world for free. There are so many exciting things to do and see it's hard not to have fun.
Technicly it could be way better, but it has the advantage that, at least for now, the garbage ratio is low. If you have some time to spend and like animations, this website might soon be your homepage.

More about Linux on Dell

A while ago there was some fuss about Dell shipping computers with Linux, first because they were to be more expensive than with Windows, then because of their choice of a distro. So, specially for those, here's good news: in this poll Dell is asking some stuff about the use of Linux in your Dell computer if you were to get one. The last question is:
6) Which Linux distribution should Dell prioritize on?

What are you waiting for? Go there and vote!

Thoughts on being a Musician

Armando Alves wrote yesterday about the fact that Amon Tobin is pissed off with Piracy, because his album leaked to the Internet before its release, and he's claiming because that happened his disk won't sell. I beg your pardon? Reality check: even if the album had not leaked before its release, it would certainly be a zero-day leak. He's enough well-known for that. Heck, even my musical project, Merankorii, had it's first album (a 33 only copies release) leaked before it sold out, and the second one (a 50 only copies release) also leaked before it sold out. Not that it matters to me - it sold anyway! Crash (the second album) is actually still selling - you can buy it in mp3 format on Amie St.! So don't let you be fooled, someone's turning the menace of the pre-release leak into an opportunity, and creating a publicity campaign in order to sell more!

But Rui Seabra posted on that blog some comments that I also disagree - claiming that the album should be released in a mp3 store like eMusic instead of CD. I'm sorry, but it's just that there is a lot of added value in a CD in comparison with its tracks in a digital format, and there's also lot's of fetishism regarding the package itself. I still purchase some music digitally, but still I'm just not able of giving complete attention to an artist until I can have one physical album of that artist in my collection (may it be CD, Vinyl or even Cassete). Let me use once again my experience as a musician to give you an example: not only I force myself into releasing my music in CD (actually the forthcoming album will also have a Cassete release, but it wasn't really my call but my labels', which I heartedly embraced), but I have some problems in releasing in a digital format. This is something that I wanted to talk a long time ago (or here or on Merankorii's blog), and I felt the urge to write as a comment to a blog post Melo did last month, so here's the time and place for it. Releasing an album is expensive. Really. I'm not whining, just stating. I spent some money releasing Mordor (my previous band), I spent some money releasing "O Monólogo do Mudo" (Merankorii's first album), I spent a big load of money releasing "Crash" (Merankorii's second album), and with "Melencolia III", the latest Merankorii album, I got signed with an underground label, meaning that I had a better release and spent almost no money (still, the balance is negative). With Sanguine (the forthcoming album), I have no intentions of spending money anymore, even if I also don't make any money (it was never my intention in the first place). But how do you manage to cover the costs? Easy - selling CD's. CD's give you a better ROI than digital music, if you're a small artist. Two points here: 1 - selling CD's when you have the digital stuff out there, specially if it will be cheaper that the actual CD, is harder; 2 - selling digital music turns the revenue to the artist, selling CD's turns the revenue to the label. If you don't give revenue to the label (even more - if you don't make it have profit instead of loss), you're not going to do another release with them. So, I'm selling Crash in mp3 format, but Melencolia III is sold in CD format until it sells out. This decision I took already granted me an extention of the deal with the label for the forthcoming album, so, in a certain way, the decision is providing me better ways of keep being a musician. Cool, heh? Oh, and Miguel, I undestand that some people really believe that bands make the big money in gigs. Sorry, that's false for a big portion of the artists out there. Anyway, if you give me the means to do a concert, I'm available! ;-)

Finaly, on digital music stores. Rui (yes, once again! ;-)), I know that you like eMusic, but I think you really should take a look on Amie St.: it's also music in mp3 format, no DRM, you can buy per track or per album (an album costs the sum of it's tracks), and no track costs more than $.98 USD, ever. What's the really sweetness? Well, Amie Street works as a "music market": the songs arrive at Amie Street costing $.00 (yes, it means FREE), and if people think that one specific track is worth more than that (basicly if the track sells), it's cost starts rising. Meaning - lot's of free music, and lot's of really cheap music. To give you an example, Crash costs there $.40. Now that's way cheaper than the 1.50€ it costed in CD.

Now to comment final pieces I caught from the comments in the blog post that lead me to this one:

Armando: Tobin had no "very expensive production costs". His label did. Also, having stats of more than 90% of Flash plugin penetration in the browser market means that potentialy almost 10 in every 100 visits that website gets are from people who can't see nothing. It actually was my case - I read your blog post with Opera Mini, and there's no Flash for it (blame Adobe and their stupid license). I really don't see a big of a problem with Flash websites, if I have an alternative way to go to the info. That happens in lot's of websites, but in Tobin's he's just telling me "I don't want you to know what I have here". Which sucks, because I want. Oh, and my comment asking a "link to those statements" was misunderstood: I was just asking a link to Tobin's logbook (which I still didn't find, and I am curious to read).


No one is 24 years old!

I am 24 years old. OK, I've heard before that "hey! nobody is 24 years old!", I just didn't knew that the Portuguese Finances transliterated that!


EU Commissioner criticizes iPod-iTunes tie-in

According to this article, EU Commissioner is criticizing iPod-iTunes tie-in by the use of DRM systems, following the steps of several European countries, specially on Norway.

For me, the most interesting thing on this is that:
"[the Commissioner] plays to discuss these initiatives in Brussels later this week."

Let's wait and see...

Artists vs. Labels

A small but interesting reading here.

Two quotes:

That said, Dan Sheeran of Real Networks believes it’s no longer a matter of “if” DRM will die, but when. The industry itself is most definitely divided, ironically with the major labels standing to gain the most with the death of DRM.

today’s label monopoly has sliced the music industry into two competing entertainment sectors: real musicians and pop. Real musicians, undeniably, maintain high economic inelasticity while the realm of pop yields the bomb-like future of an ADD-prone toddler fed a breakfast of Krispy Kremes and Pixie Stix before church.

A Suspeita

A Suspeita
"A Suspeita", in English "The Suspect" is a very Portuguese animation, made in 2000, directed by José Miguel Ribeiro, and it won the Cartoon d'Or in 2000.

It's a great animation, very well produced, really funny and yet with an interesting plot. It's a stop-motion animation movie, and the DVD has a really interesting documentary on the making of. But while watching the movie you'll soon forget you're seeing an animation, and will simply enjoy it...

Highly recommended. More info on IMDB.


MySpace sucks at geography

I'm a Portuguese, living in Portugal, where people talk Portuguese, and have an IP in a Portuguese block, owned by a Portuguese ISP. Portugal is not Spain. According to wikipedia, Portuguese is the 6th language with the most number of native speakers. Yet...


Petition for Steve Jobs

Sign an Open Letter To Steve Jobs

Last month, Steve Jobs told the world that he thought DRM was dumb and pointless. He pledged to ditch it on the iTunes Music Store, if only the 4 major music labels would let him. He told us that it was up to the consumers to take action, and that there was nothing he could do, his hands were tied, so to speak. Since then the internet has been abuzz with all kinds of theories and ideas about what Jobs was thinking, and the things he could do to show his commitment.

DefectiveByDesign have drafted an open letter to Steve Jobs asking him to take action and show us that his DRM diatribe represents a pledge that he'll make good on, and not just a prank to divert attention and criticism from Apple.

Visit DefectiveByDesign now to sign the letter and see the countdown to April 1, the deadline by which we have asked Jobs to demonstrate his commitment, otherwise we'll know that his posturing is just an attempt to play us the fool.

One year ago...

It was one year ago when Apple said that stopping DRM was promoting piracy.

It was one month ago when Apple said they would embrace a DRM-free world whole-heartedly.

Digital Music Group just "signed new video distribution agreements with Apple iTunes", and no news about ditching DRM. We know that the deal between Apple and the Major labels is going to be renewed this Month. So the question is...

What will Apple say about DRM in one year?

On the "new Amazon"

Several days ago (two or three weeks perhaps) everyone was talking about Amazon's new features, so I decided to surf a little bit on Amazon to check it out. Like I was expecting, there's nothing really new on Amazon for the final user - the guy that is really making Amazon a profitable business. Yes, they fixed a couple of things regarding usability and that's good. So here my two hints for what they should fix next:

  • I'm at Amazon's website using a web browser, and I can do almost everything I want that way, so why do I have to give feedback via e-mail? When clicking on "give us feedback" I got no web form where to write but a pop-up asking me if I really wanted to launch my e-mail client. I said 'no' and they got no feedback. Bad for the user and for Amazon.
  • Amazon works great with my browser (SeaMonkey or IceApe), thank you very much. So, why do I get a pop-up message telling me that the website is optimized for IE and Firefox? You would be better not saying nothing.


My favourite keywords

I've seen bloggers talking about the most used keywords that end up crashing on their blogs, but today I've seen one that actually asked his fellow bloggers to do the same. Here are mine:

  • 1) debian vs ubuntu; 10) debian+vs+ubuntu - I'm actualy surprised that there are so many people looking for this. I mean, while Ubuntu is based on Debian, they are two quite different distros, and there are lots of Debian users (including me) that would never consider a switch to Ubuntu, and the reverse also happens. I've talked about the issue once, but regarding only packages - one of the reasons I prefer Debian to Ubuntu.
  • 2) uninstall asterisk; 5) how to uninstall asterisk; 6) asterisk uninstall; 19) uninstall+asterisk - Errm... Oops! :-) Seems that Asterisk really has to add a 'make uninstall' into their Makefile in a future release. Well, as a matter of fact Asterisk 1.4 already has it, but 1.2 didn't :-P Of course that you can upgrade from 1.2 to 1.4 to them uninstall it O:-)
  • 3) fedora sucks - Sorry people, but I really don't like Fedora. It has something to do with the fact that it is way less stable than Debian - my distro of choice and the one I'm used to, concealed with the fact that I actually use Fedora - so I rant for a reason. I've blogged about my problems with Fedora several times... I guess I'm not the only one.
  • 4) noori; 9) Mind Booster; 12) mind booster noori - Wow, I guess that this really means that there are some people that are really looking for me. Or not.
  • 7) pytalker ubuntu - WEIRD. There's no relation between PyTalker and Ubuntu. Yet, there were 90 visits that came to my blog by there. Maybe they were looking for "the guy who blogs about both PyTalker and Ubuntu"?
  • 8) createcontext: window creation failure. sdl: couldn't find matching glx visual - This is an error you can get with Second Life in Linux. Which probably means that I should pick up again with the effort of builing debian packages for Second Life, instead of having people coming to my blog looking for help...
What about you? What are the search keywords you get on your blog?



One more round of links:
  • Lot's of people ask me what's that about me and having music CD's, Vinyl, Cassetes and such in this digital-era. I always told them it was a kind of fetishism.
  • Want to see a great free DVD? On Piracy and the Future of media is a low-budget documentary that manages to give a imparcial view on piracy, as no one else managed to do. As a bonus, the movie download is free.
  • People keep asking me about linux on cellphones, claiming that it's too much hype and no goods at hand. They even use it as excuse for buying cellphones to DRM-lovers like Sony or, now, Apple. So, here's a list of eight great linux phones. Choose yourse.
  • The official program for Moita Lan Party is already out there, next to it's flyer. For those wanting to attend to my presentation about DRM in the Music Industry, there's a free-entry. The event is from 23 to 25, this month, and my presentation is going to be at the 24th, at 16:00.
  • For Portuguese people: TSF's Eureka talked about OSS.
  • After last years' Barcamp and SHiFT, it was too good to stop. So, in 2007 we had Tecnonov, and now, inspired in the previous ones take off. Take off is going to be an event directed for those wanting to create its own startup. There are already two presentations scheduled, and I'm already eagering to listen to one of them.
  • Did you already sign the Brussels Declaration?
  • An "Portuguese Open Source Week" is being scheduled for July. Wanna help?


Why Virtual Worlds shouldn't be Businesses

Virtual Worlds

Soon after the appearance of CRPG's (Computer Role Playing Games), a similar concept appeared, to present Multi-user CRPG's, what were to be called MUD (Multi-User Dungeons). In 1978 appeared MUD1, a platform to build MUD's: Virtual Worlds full of monsters and users willing to slaught'em. The concept evolved, and, besides the appearance of different types of MUDs, several other Multi-User Virtual Worlds appeared, with different focuses other than MUDs (like, for instance, Talkers or MOOs). In 1984 appeared "Islands of Kesmai", the first MMORPG (heavily inspired of MUDs) to be explored commercially.

Let's forget all the technology advances made on Virtual Worlds: while a good use of graphics, sounds and other technology advances might enhance the experience (specially embodiment) one has in a Virtual World, those aren't a part of the Virtual World per se: the Virtual World is the concept, not its implementation.

Business Models for Virtual Worlds

"Islands of Kesmai" had a business model quite similar of those we usually see nowadays on Virtual Worlds, including MMOGs: at the time users were paying $12 per hour. There isn't much evolution on the "new" business models, and while a lot of research is being made on that field, there are basicly three possible business models: the Time-Based Subscription Model, the Virtual Currency Model and Second Life's Virtual Real Estate Ownership Model. Some new models are being purposed and appearing both in research and real implementations, but they're always inspired by these three, and can be seen as simple derivations.

Defying Virtual Worlds' business models

The problem with the actual Virtual Worlds business models is simply that we are building Virtual Worlds as businesses, and thus modelling that Virtual World in such a way that it can optimise the results of its Business Model. While it's easy to understand the need for a company that decides to create a Virtual World to do things this way (and it's comprehensible if his objective is to make money), we're seeing the problem in the wrong perspective. Users don't want to be a part of a business - they want to be in a Virtual World. The implied limitations of these kind of Virtual Worlds are obvious when you see the difficulty in creating your "virtual persona", your avatar, that isn't just "your avatar in world xx" but is simple "your (ubiquitous) avatar". The need to fix that is seen if you take in consideration the creation of some "structured virtual ubiquitous societies", like the NationStates. So, while there's no wrong on having companies building businesses by the use of Virtual Worlds, taking the Virtual World itself as a business is what is really stopping the evolution in this field. Not the technical stuff (like better graphics, less lag) but the design of the Virtual World.

Building a better Virtual World

"So, if all the well-known VW's are wrong, how could them be right?"

Imagine a World Wide Web where, instead of being just a protocol running on top of a network (the Internet), each website had its own protocol, made by a company, and you had to have that websites client program (the browser), made by the same company, to go there. Cnet's browser would let you visit Cnet's website; Amazon's browser would let you visit Amazon's website. Cnet was making money by selling its browser, as well as Amazon by selling its see-a-list-of-books browser. Insane, right? Well, that's what's happening with VW's nowadays. So, how to fix it?

Well, we could use the parallel between the Web and VW's and say that what we need is to use a network where each node knows each other and that give us the chance of having each node linking to each other, and use that to define space. With it, and using a standard and unique protocol, it would be trivial to map from one layer to the other, and, with it, to have a "Virtual World Framework". Think of Neal Stephenson's metaverse, think about what is needed to reach that kind of ubiquity. Simple, isn't it?


By chance we didn't met before. And maybe it was for the best: it gave us time to make ourselves as we are. Then, we finally met, and understood that chance played tricks on us; probability would made us know each other sooner. And we grew a concept of "we", of "us". Today, finally, we can be officially seen as a couple.


Getting time for your personal projects

This post was written yesterday night, but I'm only publishing it now. Check here to know why, and to understand why does it have so few links.

José Marques asked in his blog how the hell did we, developers, had time to have our own personal projects.

I liked the question, and I'll not only answer but I also hope to see other answers to the question...

I'll give five hints on how to do it (I could spend all night going on it, but, at least for now, only these), but first I'll have to do a small disclaimer:


I live by myself. I don't have a wife or kids, not a beloved one with whom I live. If I had, probably my tips would be totally different.

1) Get a thrilling job

If you have a bad job, you'll do nothing but whine the whole day, while dealing with it, and then go home, tired. On the other hand if you have a thrilling job, and one you like, then it will be natural for you to have ideas growing by themselves in your head while you're working. You'll learn new stuff, do new things, and think, think, think. And, for you to have a personal project, you'll certainly have to do some thinking.

2) Impose yourself some restrictions

This is somewhat vague. By restrictions I also mean other things, like... "milestones", if you will. I'll give you some examples. One of the things most people can't understand in my lifestyle is why, being a techie, do I refuse to have internet at home. Well, I know what I would do if I had an internet connection at home... But I also know what I wouldn't. I already spend the daywatch working, connected to the Internet. So, by choosing not to install an internet connection at home, I'm only restricting its use in the rest of the day, which gives me more time to do other stuff.

Another restriction I have is that I simply don't watch TV. It's not only throwing away time, but I believe it also makes you dumber. No, thanks.

On the "milestones" theme, I allways set up some milestones I'm way too sure I'm going to be able to achieve. For 2006 I had some ridiculous ones, and for this year they aren't much better: mainly I decided to separate "culture" in five areas: music, movies, books, theatre, others. I've setted up that I need to do something for that list once a month. I have one .txt for each one where I keep track of things: the status now at this moment is:

[~/2007]>wc -l *
7 filmes.txt
3 livros.txt
16 musica.txt
8 outros.txt
1 teatro.txt
35 total

meaning that this year I've watched 7 movies, read 3 books, purchased 16 CD's, went once to se a play and did 8 other cultural things (I include there things such as participating on Tecnonov or going to a museum). The total gives me 35 things for 5 lists, meaning 7 things per list, meaning stuff for 7 months made in 2. Of course that I don't really need these milestones in any way, but they help me keeping track on hows my life. I use several schemes like these for various purposes.

3) Get a relaxed job

So, I've talked about the need of a thrilling job, and about some restrictions I setted up for myself including no internet connection at home (either than my cellphone). So, how come I blog so much? Easy - I have what I'm here calling a "relaxed job". I have a job where I have to do my work, but that lets me take time to read news on the web, blog, or whatever lets me take some time to relax. If I want to do something like yesterday (a migration of one service from one server to another, trying to cause the minimum downtime possible), even knowing that it will take me one hour or so of my job... there's nothing wrong with it. Having a relaxed job also makes me spend a lot more time there than the usual eight hours per day, and I feel that it enhances my productivity job-wise and also gives me a better mindset to have my own crazy ideas, and have my own personal projects.

4) Choose your media

Choose the right tools to enhance your productivity. Choose the right way for you to communicate, to gather information, to develop ideas, to keep track of them and your own pet projects, optimize your life.

My choises are, between others, e-mail, talkers, IM only for work-related stuff, my own planet that I read in a browser (via PC or cellphone), GoPlan and lot's of others. I think this is really important, even into the step of choosing the right music player for you.

5) Get a life

The last one, and still not technichal at all... Get a life. Whatch some movies, read the news, have friends, do some expensive dinners as excuse to taste good wine, grab some books, go for a walk, live. When your notice, your mind is racing with thrilling ideas, and even when you're sleeping you're dreaming for a way to solve that problem you noticed you had in your dream two days ago.

And now, excuse me, I have a three articles to read and some coding to do before going to sleep.

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From: Blogger Help
Subject: Re: [#118892598] Blogger Beta non-spam review and [...]
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 18:01:34 -0000
Mailer: Neotonic Trakken/frontend-2.42.1


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that
it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and
sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your
patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

The Blogger Team

I had my blog blocked for more than 24 hours because Blogger's folks thought that a blog with so many links as mine is probably a "Spam Blog". Ugh...

I remember one reader of mine telling me, one year or so ago, that I didn't post as many links as I should: basicly when I'm talking about something I should link to some references. I knew he was right, but I didn't do it (and sometimes still don't) since I write lot's of stuff offline, and because linking takes time. Yet, I allways try to, without overlinking, link whenever possible to useful references that readers might find usefull. But now, with all this, I wonder... Do you think I overlink?

PS -> This post has purposedly no links ;-)