Winter of Dissonance

For those who didn't relaise yet, simmilarly to last year, this year I took a big vacations period in this time of year, which justifies the lack of blog posts lately. I like to take this period, so I can use it also to celebrate my birthday, winter and a new year.

So, sorry for the lack of posts here, but if you want to get some freebie to help you enjoy these Winter days, then let me give you a link to Winter Of Dissonance, a 2 CD's free compilation (in mp3 format) that was released this Winter's Solistice and that gives you two CD's full of dark ambient tracks, one of them an exclusive track from my musical project Merankorii. By the way, remember that if you like Merankorii's track, you can download a lot of others at http://www.reverbnation.com/merankorii.

Have a nice Winter!

(PS - Link fixed)


Second Life in Debian

What you want to know is here now. In the future, hopefully, there will be official debian packages for snowglobe2.

HOWTO: Install OpenSim in Debian

For future reference:

  • go to http://dist.opensimulator.org/ and get the latest .tgz
  • aptitude install:

    • mono

    • libmono-corlib2.0-cil

    • libmono-sqlite2.0-cil

    • libmono-system-web2.0-cil

    • libmono-microsoft8.0-cil

    • libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil

  • unpack the .tgz, cd opensim and nant

Now you're ready to go :-)

(More extensive info at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Main_Page)


This is Portugal

Portugal - Public University - Computer Science Department. At this time, 18:00, there aren't as many students as they were a couple of hours ago. Still, you can easilly see impressive stuff like people using their own 2G, 3G or 3.5G mobile devices to connect to the internet. The reason? The slooooow wi-fi gives you only 100 IP addresses for everyone. Of course, that's not enough.


Google Knol - Wikipedia and Wikia killer?

From http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/encouraging-people-to-contribute.html:
Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only.

At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.

From http://www.micropersuasion.com/2007/12/wikipedia-and-w.html:
Still, with this move Google is clearly targeting Wikipedia (which is perhaps their biggest rival) and quite possibly is trying to ensure that Jimmy Wales' forthcoming social search engine, Wikia, is dead on arrival. Consider the timing of this announcement.

From http://www.asourceofinspiration.com/2007/12/14/do-you-knols/:
authors have earned their recognition as the most important source of knowledge, and if they choose to abandon the academic walled gardens, then Google will be one step closer to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful“.

From http://coolmel.zaadz.com/blog/2007/12/integral_knol:
This is Google’s direct assault at the “walled garden” of knowledge like Wikipedia, Wikia, and Squidoo. Knol will attempt to solve the problem of chaotic collective anonymous editing (and vandalizing) of wikis and its unfriendly user interface by providing a more user-friendly editing tool for knowledgeable authors “who will put their reputation on the line.”

From http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/12/google_knol_tak.php:
The big distinction with Wikipedia is that Knol relies on individual authors rather than "the crowd." Each article, or "knol," will be signed and owned by the person who writes it, and articles on the same subject will compete with one another for viewer's eyes. In contrast, Wikipedia builds a single version of each article in a communal way with many edits by anonymous contributors.

Finaly, my favourite, from http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/12/google-attacks.html:
There is a large web world out here, with gazillions of people -- like me -- who are disinclined to play in the Wikipedia sandpile. While I agree that things can be messy, I don't think that the messiness of our understanding of the world is an implediment to Google's idea here. All that is necessary is people willing to author snippets within knol, and for others to read and rate them. That's the core dynamic of all social media-based activities on the web. Google is the just the first to be in a position to be able to make a credible effort to blogify human knowledge, just as Wikipedia has been working to wikify it.

I vote for blogifying, instead of wikifying.

I don't know how to you feel about this, but I do think there are wikipeople and blogopeople, and if for ones wikipedia is better, for the others Knol is going to be better. I think that they'll cohexist, but in the long term I think that Knol is going to "win". Not that it matters, tho, what's important is to have more and better data, and Knol is even helping improve Wikipedia's quality on the long term. I, for one, am going to be a Knol writter for sure, and my (few) contributions to wikipedia are going to keep diminishing.

OOXML: is it just "wait till February"?

Most of us sane enough to be against the adoption of the OOXML as a standard are more or less convinced that now it is somewhat a question of waiting for February and the final decision. Well, it seems that Microsoft is outsmarting us, and seeing a lot more steps until then. For instance, there is a push by Microsoft and others to move ISO toward a "direct participation" model where corporations can participate in ISO directly, bypassing the national body mechanisms altogether. This would essentially turn ISO into a vendor consortium. The ballot that will decide this,
"JTC 1 N8812 - 60-Day Letter Ballot on the Establishment of an Ad Hoc Group on Direct Participation and Call for Participation", is going to be voted at the 24th of this month, and the only open vote I've heard of until now was the one from USA: "The US vote to approve the establishment of the JTC 1 Ad Hoc Group on Direct Participation and intent to participate has been submitted."

Next step: to find out if Portugal is going to vote for this or not.


Nominated as Best Portuguese Geek Blog

Nominated as Best Portuguese Geek BlogWow, I was quite surprised to see that this blog was nominated as "Best Portuguese Geek Blog" [1], and since if I'm there is because some of my readers nominated the blog, so here's my sincere "thank you". There are eleven nominated blogs, and curiously I was already a reader all but one, which makes me think that this nomination is in part by the fact that the Portuguese blogging ecosystem is still preety small. Also, my list would be quite different... But let's not go into there. At the end, what surprised me the most about this is that not every blog nominated (as this one) writes in Portuguese, and that's also the factor that makes me think that any of those who write in english will "win". Not that it matters, as a matter of fact I think that the inniciative (which organization I'm not criticizing) is better off with Portuguese-only blogs... After all Portuguese-written blogs are aiming to Portuguese-reading people, while English-written blogs aim the world.

Anyway, this blog post is just to say a big "thank you" not only to those who nominated me, but also to all my readers. It was more than two years of fun, and while sometimes it slows down, it's not aimed to stop.

[1] - http://melhorblogportugues.com/anuncios/nomeacoes-geek/


mobile literature

e-books? Audiobooks? Yes, I understand their importance in a world in evolution, but it's not my kind of things, at least yet. Some years ago I was quite fond of printing stuff to read: I couldn't even think of reading a book in the screen. I read Underground [1] entirely by printing it in an old plotter that printed pages way more slower than I would read them. Oh, and I wasn't able to do multitasking, so I was reading another book while printing that one. Years later I read quite some magazines and short stories in the screen (computer or more recently on mobile phone), but never a novel. I was quite surprised to see such an huge adoption of audiobooks in Germany when I was there a couple of months ago.

A couple of days ago I read an article and lot's of controversial arguments around it: basicly the story is around the fact that half of Japan's top-10 selling works of fiction in the first six months of the year were composed the same way - on the tiny handset of a mobile phone [2]. Now, after a couple of days my mind is still thinking of this, and I have not very strong but mixed feelings about this. Some say that this is the evolution of the language. Others say that this is going to kill culture. Above that, I think more about if is this an Asian trend or if it will move onto Europe and America, also if isn't this what's going to be the next pop movements. The business model and the success of it doesn't surprise me, tho: after all you can make all kind of parallels between this and MegaTokyo [3], for instance. But I don't know... Is this good? Is this bad? Will be a new method to release good new books? Are the books made this way already released any good? (Most critics say no, but I'm curious to read one or two to make my own mind...)

Yes, I still have to think a lot about this issue. But, in the meanwhile... What are your thoughts on the issue?

[1] - http://www.underground-book.com/
[2] - http://smallr.net/japan-mobile-books
[3] - http://smallr.net/megatokyo


Remember when I wrote about Portugal refusing to adopt Free Software [1]? Well, it seems that not every country is so dumb as this one, and as a matter of fact I want to congratulate Dutch people: in a simmilar effort their results were quite different [2]:

Using Open Source is not 'mandatory', but when a choice has to be made between closed source software and open source software which behaves equally, than the open source version should be choosen.

[1] - http://smallr.net/FOSS-in-Portugal
[2] - http://smallr.net/FOSS-in-Netherlands


So, BBC News wrote an article yesterday about DRM and why is it bad [1]. Man, I wholeheartedly agree. They give lot's of great examples of why DRM sucks too: Western Digital, Zune, Nokia, Google, Sony, iTunes, HD-DVD, Blu-ray, Virgin...

The day before, BBC News also had an article called "'Digital locks' future questioned" [2], also showing that DRM is bad for consumers.

What I don't know if is someone trying to be fired: when I type in your search engine for "BBC + DRM" the first result I get is an article on BBC World Service, called "BBC Launches DRM Service In Europe" [3].

Hypocrisy, no? Yes, DRM is bad, but BBC folks are also bad not only for using it but also for being DRM promoters. This also isn't a position they changed over the time: in October they avoided going to the European Competition authorities [4] for promoting Microsoft's abusive monopoly by "exploring alternative DRM systems" to Microsoft's DRM, refusing to just ditch DRM.

So, what is it then? DRM is bad for consumers, you admit it, and you force your own costumers to stick with it?

[1] - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7136527.stm
[2] - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7136069.stm
[3] - http://smallr.net/BBC-DRM-in-Europe
[4] - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7047381.stm



This weekend I saw a curious thing: Ubuntu made the right choice of having the reportbug-ng package in their distribution, but they forgot to change it to check Ubuntu bugs and report to Ubuntu instead of doing that to Debian. So, there's not a bug report against Ubuntu's bugreport-ng [1], even if tagged as "wishlist" (something I don't think is correct, and will try to see changed).

On other issue, IFPI is pressing Europe [2] to adopt some silly stuff like the recent Olivennes disagreement [3], and European politicians seem open to the idea of ISPs policing and interfering with their customers' communications on behalf of rightsholders.

We all know that Amazon is generally "cool", but they have some bad stuff too. Cory Doctorow decided to talk about it [4].

Finally... I'm a sucker for these things, it's not the first time and I doubt it will be the last that I see some piece of unmaintained software going offline and I having to taking over it. This time it was Crystal [5], a text-based MUD client that has support for both telnet and telnet-SSL. A new version was released, I have already plans on how to attack the "TODO" and I even made a Debian Package, that I'll try to make official [6].

Which reminds me to ask: any DD out there wanting to sign my GPG key? ;-)

[1] - http://smallr.net/ubuntu-bug-175508
[2] - http://smallr.net/IFPI-vs-Europe
[3] - http://smallr.net/olivennes
[4] - http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/dec/11/amazon
[5] - http://talkerspt.no-ip.org/~mbooster/crystal/
[6] - http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=455759


One more round of links

[1] - http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/015537.html
[2] - http://alcides.ideias3.com/blog/204
[3] - http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/568
[4] - http://www.steve.org.uk/Software/asql/
[5] - http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20071205/tc_cmp/204700372
[6] - http://smallr.net/SL-age-verification


The State of Music Business

Manuel Marino, who has a blog about music in its various aspects, invited me to wrote an article about the state of music business. For those who read this blog for a long time, you probably already know my position about it. But if you're not a reader for that long, or, in other hand, you want to have my thoughts about the state of the music business compiled in a somewhat small article that sums it up, then you might be interested in reading this article:

The last Yule of all

It was cold, really cold. I was alone, walking quickly by the perfect place to have it happen - Penedo da Saudade. I remember playing with my own breathe because of the vapour coming out of my mouth. I was walking fast, but my mind was, as always, far, far away, and everything was slow, flowing, just like another pre-Winter day.

All of the sudden everything changed, the pace was quick, the car stopped, faces I can recognize, really? cool! ok - I was inside, soon enough and - bang - I was with Catarina again, after months of knowing nothing of her. "Today Yule is going to be your Yule's present" she said, knowing that my present was herself, being with her again, knowing I didn't care for presents, knowing that Yule was more important than my birthday, or any birthday. There I was, heading East.

Fires and logs and chants and feast, dances and wine and joy and a bride, and faces and people, humanity, joy, it's party, the death and rebirth. When someone asks me what is magic, I recall myself of Yule.

It was the last Iberian Yule, but more than that, for me it was the last Yule of all.