Saturday, June 30, 2007

Colbert reviews the iPhone...


Thank God not everyone in the US is braindead!

MSNBC news anchor Mika Brzezinski refuses to present a "Paris Hilton" story. Well done MIKA! If you ask me, Mika looks a lot more attractive than that moron Paris Hilton. Why the world is gone mad on that freetard fake Barbie is always gonna be a mystery to me...

BTW, those two males sitting at her both sides should be embarrassed to call themselves journalists. Open a dictionary on the word A-hole and you'll find their portraits...

It heals the sick ?!?!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another 30 hours to go.

Tomorrow, June 29th, at 6pm, the much hyped iPhone goes on sale at hundreds (thousands) Apple and ATT stores in the US.

In the last 20 years or so, when we had similar occasions with a number of immensely hyped products moving to commercial availability, likewise behavioral patterns were observed. Reporters fill page long articles in the days, weeks and months ahead of D-day, taking positions that vary from pro to against in all shades of gray (it's a free market afterall) and thousands of internauts, bloggers and alike amplify and spread the frenzy in viral fashion throughout the cyberspace. We've seen similar scenes taking place time and again during the launch of Playstation, X-Box, Windows 95, iPod and so many other IT gadgets, with prospective buyers piling up and camping in front of closed stores for days before the launch. The case study will be analysed and disected millions of times in all scientific approaches possible within marketing faculties and business schools worldwide for years to come. Of all the launches that we had before, tomorrow's iPhone launch however, promises to break all past records in terms of coverage and hype. I am sure there will be far less suicide bombs tomorrow as prospective terrorists and their leaders know that even if they blew up the entire city of Bagdad the news coverage (incl. CNN) will be marginal in comparison, as most reporters and crews will be rushing to the ATT and Apple shops, I bet you.

The AAPL stock will be traded on Nasdaq in tens of millions shares in terms of volume and we shall see its rate swing at least five to six dollars without the shadow of a doubt... (I personally expect some upward trend initially but it may soon be heading south following massive speculative short selling... it happened so often in the past).

In the last few days via its homepage Apple has extensively launched audiovisual material that is well built, straightforward and shows to prospective buyers in the simplest possible way how to use their soon to be theirs little marvels. I can bet you that we'll see the following events happening tomorrow:

1. Live TV coverage on multiple networks of the morons queueing up in front of stores to spend 500 bucks on the brand new love of their lives...

2. Few retards among early iPhone buyers with mostly double digit IQ, plenty of Dad's money to waste and an ego larger than life will publicly smash into pieces with sledgehammers their brand new devices.

3. We'll see an increased number of theft assaults in public places, busses, subways upon numerous new owners of iPhone. In some neigborhoods they may even turn into sad cases of homicide as well, have no doubt.

4. Millions of words will be written in hundreds of languages and thousands of reporters' articles around the world, in the form of printed and online frontpage material, talking about early experiences of the first 21st Century technological miracle among many to come in the future...

Would I buy one, myself? Eventually when they come to Europe I might... I believe I'd first buy them for my kids should they wish it and eventually, when the devices undergo a couple of upgrades and revisions (2nd or 3rd gen) with GPS and all, I might spoil myself too. I am not much of a cellphone user, so I am watching all this from the margins... I enjoy their hype though. I rather have news about the iPhone than about teenage Muslim suicide bombers blowing themselves into pieces.

Switzerland invades Lichtenstein... by mistake!

Zurich, AP: What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein. According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers from the neutral country wandered more than a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back. A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the article but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion. "We've spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it's not a problem," Daniel Reist told The Associated Press on Friday. Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident An Interior Ministry spokesman, Markus Amman, said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. "It's not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something," he said. Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants, does not have an army.

So far goes the Associated Press article. When I first read this I LMAO. The very day that Iraqi “terrorists” post a video clip on Internet showing off a cold-blooded execution of 18 abducted security forces, and US Forces in Afghanistan shoot anything that moves after being attacked by a suicide bomber, and in the process, “help” another sixteen Afghanis on their way to the Prophet... 170 bored Swiss soldiers lose their way in the night and end up in... Liechtenstein! Did they blame the moon eclipse for lack of visibility for that? But, I guess, the eclipse was total in Belgium, not in Switzerland, right? Liechtenstein is so pathetically small that you risk driving past it even with the latest GPS. Really, you’ve got to admire the Swiss army skills. It’s hundreds of years since they fought any battles at all (as mercenaries, that was) but they are still ready to go in a heartbeat, if attacked. And they can even find Liechtenstein in total darkness! I visited Liechtenstein only once in my life. I was in the neighborhood with Chris Binkert, my super trooper Swiss Sales Manager for JMA/TI, visiting Winterthur Insurance in early nineties; since the meeting didn’t last long, we had some time to spare and Chris decided to show me Liechtenstein. There was a narrow stream I remember, not a river, and as we walked over the bridge... there we were, in beautiful Liechtenstein. Very picturesque, German style, with a cute narrow street moving up-mountain. We wasted a few minutes window-shopping, drank a coffee in a bar-restaurant at one corner of that same street and walked again out of “the country” thirty minutes later, quite stoically. It was daylight indeed, so we had no real problem finding the “country” and eventually getting out of it. Experience of a lifetime, believe me... not?

The meaning of Life...

In the July edition of Scientific American there is an interview with Alan Weisman, author of five books, about his upcoming new publication "The World without us" (St.Martin's Press, 2007). In this book Weisman analyses what would happen under the hypothesis that the human race, all of a sudden, ceases to exist entirely (no single human left on the planet) from a given moment onwards until the end of time!

It's an interesting analysis... he deals from the next few days after the event to trillions of years afterwards. He starts with a description of what will happen to Manhattan, as an example, by using established knowledge about the existing infrastructure (subways, buildings, streets and avenues), and the backgound nature upon which human made infrastructure is built (bedrocks, underground rivers and streams, valeys and hills, woods and living creatures other than human, etc). His conclusions are simply plausible because they are based on known facts about the state of things in the current eco system. Nevertheless his conclusions sound surprising because, although we know most of the things he describes, we simply never took the time to perform the thought exercise.

So it appears that an immense amount of water in the tens of thousands of metric tons needs to be pumped away daily to keep the Manhattan subway rails dry and therefore, when no humans are available to care for the nuclear plants suplying electric energy, reactors simply shut down for security reasons, electricity supply stops, pumps work no more and the subway tunnels get filled with water within a matter of days... Streaming underground water causes further a number of the big avenues to collapse, like the Lexington and Madison avenues, and so on... A marvel of a book this promises to be.

Having seen the SciAm article and reading about some of the future events Weisman describes made me think a little...

We are told by scientists that the current universe, our own, in all its immensity has an approximate age of 14.5 Billion years since the Big-Bang, the moment of Creation. Not bad at all... Our own planetary system around our sun and our planet Earth in particular were found to have an age of one third of the above, say about 4.5 Billion years. First substances contributing to the creation of life appeared soon after the formation of the earth crust 3.5 Billion years ago, whereas humans, as we know them, appeared thru evolution of initial life forms with a reproduction capability only in the last hundreds of thousands years, not millions though (I think). Let's state that humans communicating among themeselves by means of some form of comprehensive "language", living within "organized" communities and creating objects that are samples of human civilatization have existed for tens of thousands of years... still a very small percentage compared to the age of the planet, let alone the age of the universe...

Weisman, reflecting contemporary scientific knowledge, predicts that in a billion years the earth would have theoretically reached temperature levels in which no human life would be still possible... I strongly believe human civilizations will have ceased to exist long before then with probably Star Trek like reps of the human race attempting to colonize new planetary systems in outer space (not too successfully, I suppose). However, for the sake of such broad assumpions, let's say that the timespan in the life of the Earth during which we, humans, inhabited the planet, is definitely not longer than a few hundreds millions years (broad upper bound)...

After 5 billion years from the Present time (AP) the earth will gradually evaporate as a result of an expanding sun that will eventually absorb all of its planets into one fluid and gazeous mass. In other words, the total length of physical existence of our own planet as an independent space object is not going to be much more than 10 Billion years, from beginning to end. That means that intelligent life on Earth, from its cradle to the grave, will have eventually existed for much less than ten percent of the Earth's life. And all this under the assumption that no other cause, man-made or natural, would have wiped out all forms of intelligent life on Earth long before the Billion years AP mark.

If you now think about our known history of civilization, say the last 4 to 5 thousand years BP (Before Present), we realize that what we think as an immense timespan, from the Egypt pyramids to the next 100 thousand years, is a sub-percentual slice compared to the total age of our planet.

So, why all the bother? Why the wars, domination of one group of persons upon others, the build up of fortunes, monuments, landmarks, the fights about frontiers ringfenching inhabitable land... why religions and sciences, why should any God bother about each one of us at all... there are billions of us who would have lived during our slice of existence, all made of the same peta trillions of atoms and molecules that keep recycling from one object to another... why any God at all or law of nature governing the functioning of the Universe should care about so much "noise" anyways, "noise" of which a wee-tiny bit only maintains a form of intelligence for such a small slice in the life of one trivial and negligible planet like ours, as we know it, in a universe of trillions of similar planets who may have also housed during equivalent trivial percentages of their own lifespan intelligent humanoids like ourselves... no doubt there is (a) God in a form of some eternal (design) intelligence that is beyond and above time and space... but why should It care at all... To paraphrase Einstein: God appears to like humor and plays with dice afterall...

What's the point that I am trying to make, then, you may wonder?

Yesterday a dear friend and colleague lost a parent... I, myself, face the imminent risk of a similar loss in the near future of a close family member suffering a terminal desease. When I lost my own parents years ago, I learned to cope with it believing that our loved ones after they perish still continue to live further within ourselves and our children thru our cellular DNA code that we transmit from generation to generation thru the act of reproduction. I am just trying to make sense of it all... based on the elementary knowledge I have acquired during my lifetime about the meaning of things we see and live in.

My logic tells me to live life as long as I am still alive, learn from others, share my knowledge and do no evil... don't bother much about facing my own death anyway and hope little about what happens next, after I am gone for ever... who cares anyway? All what we shall have built and done during the less than 10% of our Earth's lifespan will perish long before all disappears for good again in our solar system's ultimate explosion when the sun turns into a red dwarf... in 5 Billion years from now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

Newsweek poll proves US ignorance

A recent Newsweek poll shows that, even today, as we speak, 4 out of 10 US citizens believe that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attack. It's quite an interesting survey, which you could actually take as well if you link to this article. It's always a good idea to test our own before throwing stones to others...

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults, 18 and older, conducted June 18-19, 2007. Results are weighted so that the sample demographics match Census Current Population Survey parameters for gender, age, education, race, region, and population density. The overall margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, the practical difficulties of conducting surveys can also introduce error or bias to poll results.

Searching for truth...

The incident with US soldiers in Somalia that Clinton refers to has been the subject of an excellent Hollywood movie (2001) Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott. The film won two Oscars and many other distinctions...

If you wondered why Clinton gets so upset and attacks the anchor real bad, read Wikipedia's article on "The Fox News" (owned by Aussie News mogul R. Murdoch) especially the parts of the article referring to Fox's neutrality (or better said, lack of it)...

Can you do that?

Despite the many cruelties of the human race, it is things like these that convinces me that humans are capable of wonderful art in any form and size... after all!

23 years ago...

Makes you proud to be born... Greek. The music used to introduce the computer that changed the world for ever was composed by... our own Mr. Papathanassiou...

My 2 cents worth sort of "My big fat Greek wedding" thought for the day... Rejoice, my Greek compatriots... Περασμενα μεγαλεια και διηγωντας τα να κλαις...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A 64bit Wildcat!

I spent a few hours today testing the latest beta version of Leopard. The new Mac OSX revision (announced for commercial release coming November) was offered for testing to the WWDC participants a few weeks ago. I was able to get hold of a copy... the next is history.

To avoid messing up my current 10.4.10 installation on my black slick Macbook I decided to put the Leopard beta on an external Firewire disk. Installation took less than 30 minutes from beginning to end... nothing special, everything progressed smoothly and without glitches.

The first thing that strikes you when you start using the system is the speed improvement. Any dock icon for any common app I clicked on to launch the app would only spring once and the app would blow wide open, like it was stored in internal memory. It took me some time to think of the fact that Leopard was a 64bit OS and the increased speed was to be expected... I am sure Mac users will love the improvement... I was just running on the latest MacBook (not even a Pro version) and that stuff was just flying...

I found that the most spectacular enhancement though was around the Finder and Quicklook. Imagine you are looking at a, say 30MB image file or an Excel spreadsheet with thousands of lines and columns, or a PDF file of some descent size. Imagine you click slightly on the file thumbnail in the Finder window and the file blows up its contents INSTANTANEOUSLY into a black transparent Quicklook window. In the past, we used to measure response times in secs and sub-secs (less than a sec). I believe Quicklook must be sub-tenth of a second material... you just can't believe the speed. How they have ever been able to implement this is a mystery to me. And it's not just for image files... same thing happens with multipage PDF, DOC or XLS files or whatever else you may desire. And you can scroll multipage documents up and down right after... you can resize them to your heart's desire and it all keeps smooth and slick.

FrontRow changed a bit its look and feel and is a lot more like AppleTV. There are some improvements there too. Email offers quite a bit of new functionality with stationery and to-do-lists.

I haven't tried the Time Machine... I assume it works fine. I tried Spaces too and it looks OK... I am not sure I am gonna use this a lot though. I also enjoyed Alex, the synthesized voice reading texts... really sounds like a real person (well... maybe...).

Finally the Finder offers CoverFlow as we are used for songs in iTunes. In CoverFlow each time you point to the file under the focus, it shows its contents and also, if it's a multipage or a movie, it offers you the possibility to page thru or start playing it. You can also hit the space bar and then Quicklook pops-up with a larger view of the contents. Another hit on the space bar and Quicklook disappears. Slick! It's a great enhancement and helps you quickly scan thru your files and even discover files you "lost" for ages...

Bottomline, the new OS seems extremely smooth and user-friendly... object animations are superb and the speed extraordinary. I can't wait to get my hands on their commercial release next November.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Six degrees to Kevin Bacon

In a White House Press Conference on June 28, 2000, Bill Clinton quoted at a certain moment: "In the words of that now-famous book that everybody is reading, it reaches a kind of tipping point and people kind of get it". Which was the "famous" book that he was referring to? What is a tipping point?

It appears that The Tipping Point is a bestseller non-fiction book that first published in 2000 by the legendary author Malcolm Gladwell (I referred to his work on another blog, Blink). Until quite recently, I had no knowledge whatsoever of either Gladwell or any of his books and articles. Eventually, I ended up linked to him and his work thru a phenomenon that he happens to be describing extensively in "The Tipping Point": Social networking, or the fact that everyone seems to be connected to everyone else, somehow.

Many know Linkedin nowadays. Linkedin is an organization that actually links people via their individual networks of acquaintances in ways Gladwell describes in his book. Within our daily worlds of social life, career, sports leisure, travel, etc, it appears that it is rather trivial to connect most of us to anyone else within just a few steps (a.k.a. degrees). As an example, I recently discovered that I was within two degrees of Kaspersky, one of the founders of the Kaspersky anti-virus software supplier (big deal...not?). That was made possible via my ex-boss at CA to whom I am linked directly and who has a rather large network of business partners, friends and acquaintances in the IT industry. The whole idea behind Linkedin is to use connections as referrals if you are trying to reach certain individuals. As an extra bonus, it appears that for referral purposes, as Gladwell puts it, the so called "weak ties" (that is links of second degree upwards) are stronger than "strong ties" (first degree links with people you know well and meet regularly). In other words, the friends of your friends are likely to know your target(s) better than your very own close friends and acquaintances...

As an example, let me refer to my own personal experience with Linkedin... despite the fact that I consider myself a dormant account holder... meaning, I am not doing much with it, I've got a total of 16 first degree connections, mostly ex-colleagues. However, it so happens that a handful of folks in my first degree circle are connected to hundreds of others... the highest score is Dan's, who worked in our UK ops at Sterling Software in the late nineties, with 312 first degree connections. Long story short, the total of my second degree connections covers more than 1,200 contacts. And three degrees away, my total number of connections span to more than 200,000 (!!!). This actually means, that in this target population of 200,000+ folks out there I could theoretically reach someone (say, my referral target) via some guy/gal closer to me (my first degree circle), who in turn knows somebody else relatively well (his/her own first degree circle), who then happens to be related to my target reasonably well (via, again, his/her own first degree circle)! Like "The friends of my friends are my friends too" sort of thing... 200,000 dudes out there, reacheable via a mere sixteen folks among my so many other acquaintances who, as it happens, went thru the trouble to participate in the Linkedin connectivity. Wow!

I have no idea how successful the Linkedin initiative has proven todate. I see them being still active, enhancing the functionality of their homepage and aggressive in marketing their services via a variety of strategies. They must be doing something right after all... as I said earlier, I don't quite use them too often but I am regularly invited to link to people via my connections, endorse people I know, etc...

Another "cute" example of human networking connectivity, that Gladwell superbly describes in The Tipping Point, is the trivia game "Six degrees to Kevin Bacon" (in this linked article, Wikipedia offers an extensive coverage of the game). The idea is simple: if I gave you the name of any actor or actress, either alive or dead, from a list of about 800 thousand (!), can you link him/her via movies they've been together to the actor Kevin Bacon in less than six degrees? For example, how many degrees do you think one needs to connect Gregory Peck (adored by Baby Boomers) to Kevin Bacon (a hero of Generation X fans)? Well, it appears that the answer is only two degrees:

Gregory Peck was in Mackenna's Gold (1969) with Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon

(same result obtained for Marilyn Monroe as well, who was actually found dead by the time Kevin Bacon was almost out of his diapers... connected via the same old sob Eli Wallach who still continues to act in his nineties...)

It gets even better. It appears that Brett Tjaden of the University of Virginia explored the game systematically and came to quite a few interesting conclusions. Of 800+ thousand actors maintained in the IMDb database it was calculated that the average number of degrees to Kevin Bacon is 2.946, or, in other words, almost any actor/actrice you know of in the US can be connected to Kevin Bacon in an average of just under three steps. Phenomenal!

If you are interested to try for yourselves, visit Tjaden's "Oracle of Bacon" and try any pair of actors you may select to link to each other. And if you concluded from the above stats that Kevin Bacon is "well" connected... I've got news for you... there are 1,048 others with a lower average than Bacon's. Finally, if you just wondered who's on top of the list, well... I am glad to say that it is one of my most favorite actors of all times with an average score of 2.678695: Rod Steiger!

It appears that actors who have acted in a variety of movie-styles (say Western, Romance, Gangster, Historic, Comedies) score better (higher in rank) than those who mainly acted in a few movie-styles alone, regardless how many films in total they did during their career. For this reason, John Wayne with dozens of movies (mostly Westerns) scores quite low (319) whereas Rod Steiger, who performed a myriad of different roles (from Napoleon to Capone), ranks on top... and Dan Hedaya (Dan who???) scores better than Woody Allen! Give us a break!

Finally, the first woman on that ranking list is Karen Black on rank 21. I had to search hard to find out who she is... I must admit, her face rings a bell, but I'll be damned if I remember which films I saw her act...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Too busy for sex?

NANT pointed me to this Guardian article this morning. I am taking over in this blog it's spicy introduction and then point you to the whole article to enjoy yourselves... expecially you with little time to either read or... do it!

"...Fear not! The latest clutch of sex guides are full of advice for people with no time to Do It. But who has the time to even read about sex these days? To save you the trouble, Lucy Mangan sifts through Mating in Captivity et al for some top tips.

The Kama Sutra could blithely assume a readership with sufficient time and resources to allow installation of the rope-and-pulley system required to lower a woman into the Crippled Starfish on a Spike position. But times have, alas, changed. The latest fashion in publishing, spreading faster than chlamydia at a mixed comprehensive, is for sex manuals aimed at people who don't have time to Do It any more.

According to the likes of Urban Tantra, Mating in Captivity and Quickies: Sex for Busy People, the pressures of modern living are taking their toll on our willingness and ability to bump uglies, and we need to find new ways to combat our sexual anomie. But of course, who has time to read an entire book to find out how? Fortunately, the Guardian can offer you 10 top tips, distilled from the latest publications."

(continue reading...)

New terminal desease : the Zunitis syndrom

From a recent Engadget posting:

The man so devoted to all things Zune that he got not one but two Zune tattoos looks to have finally drawn the attention of Microsoft itself, which has decided to fly its biggest fan out to Redmond and give him the star treatment. In a post on the Zune Scene message boards, "mszunefan" says that he'll be making the trip on July 5th, during which he'll do an interview for Microsoft's Channel 10 and then meet his heroes: a no doubt slightly unnerved Zune team. We have to say we're kinda glad that Microsoft stepped in when it did, there's no telling where the next tattoo might have ended up.

I have no comment for the moron who decided to fall in love with the Zune. Only thing that bothers me is that Microsofties behave like they figured out a way to timetravel thru wormholes... Jeez... Mario, Dave, Johan, Gert... sober up folks! Kick friggin' Balmer out of the door before it's too late...

Rio - Antirio

A few years ago, I believe it was 2004, the year of the Athens Olympics, a large bridge was inaugurated connecting Peloponesse with Sterea Hellas (Rio to Antirio). This is one of the most exceptional architectural works in the country (next to Akropolis, so to say) and quite a few amateur photographers like to shoot the view. Here's the shot by Nikos Yialelis (whom you already know from previous references in my blogs) together with satellite views (courtesy of Google Maps) of the area and the spot I believe Nikos used to shoot the picture...

The Moon and Venus...

June 18th 2007 I shot a picture late at night of the moon... It was close to 11pm and there was still quite a bit of light coming from the Northern horizon. I was actually testing my VR lens pushing it to extremes without a tripod and extreme high ASA sensitivity (guess around 3000). They weren't great pictures but I posted them on Flickr anyway, under the tag "moon". Long story short, few days later I get a Flickr mail telling me that someone had posted a comment on my picture. It was a person going with the "name "Sabinam" at Flickr who did exactly the same as I did... she shot the same picture from her window in Baku (Azerbaijan). I visited her Flickr site and in one of the comments about her moon shot a guy (by the Flickr name of Altamash) was claiming her shot was better than his... so I went to see his, of June 18th as well, from Karachi (Pakistan) this time... Click on each of these pictures to enlarge them. From left to right is mine, Sabinam's and Altamash's.

In case you wondered, the bright star located next to the moon is apparently Venus. I got no idea but I learned this from Altamash who is obviously more knowledgeable than me... Interesting to see the relative position of Venus vis-à-vis the moon that might be explained by the different longitude and time of capture... So, three people who never heard of each other before, of totally different race, sex, age and geographic location, came together thru Flickr via a shot of the moon and Venus... oh, the benefits of Internet and the global village!

Of all these shots, I really like a fourth one of a red moon, shown hereunder, shot on another night by my good friend and ex-colleague Nikos Yialelis. Decide for yourselves...

Art is an idea...

Since June 11th you'll be surprised to find satellite antennas hanging on balconies in front of appartment buildings in quite a few suburbs of the city of Amsterdam (a.k.a. Satellite City), looking a lot more gay than they normally used to. In suburbs as Geuzenveld/Slotermeer, Osdorp and Bos, and Lommer, where quite a few immigrants are among the residents and satellite antennas are their only connection with their fatherland, elementary school pupils were asked to paint whatever their heart desired on a flexible (plastic?) material that was subsequently used to "dress" the ugly gray of the satellite dishes. The whole initiative was an idea of Peter Doeswijk, a Dutch artist.

Needless to say, the Satellite project drew huge local attention and, as The Netherlands is a forerunner in our Welfare States of the West, the project broke into the international press as well.

Doeswijk does quite a few original works and projects. Another project of his was the decoration of fenches surrounding numerous (and annoying) building construction sites in Amsterdam with posters showing pictures of people passing kisses to the viewers... with implicit message "don't go away... we love you".

This is what seems to be art nowadays. Esthetics is part of it but not the essential. Creating the "artistic" work by the artist him/herself is less of a requirement. In the antennas project it was a bunch of less than ten year olds who did the "painting". Doeswijk was a mere project manager. In the "kisses" project he probably directed a group of photographers to go out and shoot hundreds of pictures with their subjects in the "smack a kiss" pose. The artist is someone who has an "artistic" idea. The key element of that idea is originality. The human race is hungry for creative ideas. Of all the species only humans have this ability to create "novelty"... that is stuff that was never tried before. If these works are furthermore unique, that is to say, they are not mass manufactured for large global consumption, then they are considered as "art". In this sense, each one of us could become an artist! All one needs is an idea that can change the world for ever! Like the iPod...

(Note. When Jonathan Ive, VP of Apple's Product Design, was asked whether the iPod was a work of Art, he replied that Art is a form of self expression whereas the iPod was an object for mass consumption that was optimized to be user friendly and fulfill the needs of its each and every user...)

Doeswijk's poster shown on the right contains 256 "kiss" passing individuals... irrelevant, but in case you wondered... (I did!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Microsoft Surface...

How biased are you?

As I was reading Gladwell's "Blink" the other day, I came across the mention of Project Implicit and the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Actually what happens here is an online test you can take about a number of subjects. The test result will tell you whether you are instinctively biased towards one of two choices... if these choices are for instance, black people (African American) and white people (European American), the test will measure the degree of your subconcious racist tendencies. They have already created versions of the test for many subjects, incl. Microsoft (the Evil Empire) vs. Open Source. Other subjects are thin vs fat, gay vs straight, etc... find the full list here.

I urge you to go take the test as more than 700 thousand others like you who did the same in the past. It's fun and you may generally find out things about yourself and why you behave they way you do.


"In September of 1983, a dealer by the name of Gianfranco Becchina approached the J. Paul Getty Museum in California. He had in his possession, he said, a marble statue dating from the sixth century BC. It was what is known as a kouros a sculpture of a nude male youth standing with his left leg forward and his arms at his sides. There are only about two hundred kouroi in existence, and most have been recovered badly damaged or in fragments from grave sites or archeological digs. But this one was almost perfectly preserved. It stood close to seven feet tall. It had a kind of light colored glow that set it apart from other ancient works. It was an extraordinary find. Becchina's asking price was just under $10 million. The Getty moved cautiously. It took the kouros on loan and began a thorough investigation. Was the statue consistent with other known kouroi? The answer appeared to be yes. The style of the sculpture seemed reminiscent of the Anavyssos kouros in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, meaning that it seemed to fit with a particular time and place. Where and when had the statue been found? No one knew precisely, but Becchina gave the Getty's legal department a sheaf of documents relating to its more recent history. The kouros, the records stated, had been in the private collection of a Swiss physician named Lauffenberger since the 1930S, and he in turn had acquired it from a well-known Greek an dealer named Roussos. A geologist from the University of California named Stanley Margolis came to the museum and spent two days examining the surface of the statue with a high resolution stereo microscope. He then removed a core sample measuring one centimeter in diameter and two centimeters in length from just below the right knee and analyzed it using an electron microscope, electron microprobe, mass spectrometry, X ray diffraction, and X ray fluorescence. The statue was made of dolomite marble from the ancient Cape Vathy quarry on the island of Thasos, Margolis concluded, and the surface of the statue was covered in a thin layer of calcite which was significant, Margolis told the Getty, because dolomite can turn into calcite only over the course of hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In other words, the statue was old. It wasn't some contemporary fake. The Getty was satisfied. Fourteen months after their investigation of the kouros began, they agreed to buy the statue. In the fall of 1986, it went on display for the first time. The New York Times marked the occasion with a front page story. A few months later, the Getty's curator of antiquities, Marion True, wrote a long, glowing account of the museum's acquisition for the art journal The Burlington Magazine. "Now standing erect without external support, his closed hands fixed firmly to his thighs, the kouros expresses the confident vitality that is characteristic of the best of his brothers." True concluded triumphantly, "God or man, he embodies all the radiant energy of the adolescence of western an." The kouros, however, had a problem. It didn't look right. The first to point this out was an Italian an historian named Federico Zen, who served on the Getty's board of trustees. When Zen was taken down to the museum's restoration studio to see the kouros in December of 1983, he found himself staring at the sculpture's fingernails. In a way he couldn't immediately articulate, they seemed wrong to him. Evelyn Harrison was next. She was one of the world's foremost experts on Greek sculpture, and she was in Los Angeles visiting the Getty just before the museum finalized the deal with Becchina. "Arthur Houghton, who was then the curator, took us down to see it," Harrison remembers. "He just swished a cloth off the top of it and said, 'Well, it isn't ours yet, but it will be in a couple of weeks.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to hear that.'" What did Harrison see? She didn't know. In that very first moment, when Houghton swished off the cloth, all Harrison had was a hunch, an instinctive sense that something was amiss. A few months later, Houghton took Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, down to the Getty's conservation studio to see the statue as well. Hoving always makes a note of the first word that goes through his head when he sees something new, and he'll never forget what that word was when he first saw the kouros. "It was 'fresh' 'fresh,'" [loving recalls. And "fresh" was not the right reaction to have to a two thousand year old statue. Later, thinking back on that moment, Hoving realized why that thought had popped into his mind: "I had dug in Sicily, where we found bits and pieces of these things. They just don't come out looking like that. The kouros looked like it had been dipped in the very best caffe lane from Starbucks." Hoving turned to Houghton. "Have you paid for this?"

Houghton, Hoving remembers, looked stunned. "If you have, try to get your money back," Hoving said. "If you haven't, don't." The Getty was getting worried, so they convened a special symposium on the kouros in Greece. They wrapped the statue up, shipped it to Athens, and invited the country's most senior sculpture experts. This time the chorus of dismay was even louder. Harrison, at one point, was standing next to a man named George Despinis, the head of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. He took one look at the kouros and blanched. "Anyone who has ever seen a sculpture coming out of the ground," he said to her, "could tell that that thing has never been in the ground." Georgios Dontas, head of the Archeological Society in Athens, saw the statue and immediately felt cold. "When I saw the kouros for the first time," he said, "I felt as though there was a glass between me and the work." Dontas was followed in the symposium by Angelos Delivorrias, director of the Benaki Museum in Athens. He spoke at length on the contradiction between the style of the sculpture and the fact that the marble from which it was carved came from Thasos. Then he got to the point. Why did he think it was a fake? Because when he first laid eyes on it, he said, he felt a wave of "intuitive repulsion." By the time the symposium was over, the consensus among many of the attendees appeared to be that the kouros was not at all what it was supposed to be. The Getty, with its lawyers and scientists and months of painstaking investigation, had come to one conclusion, and some of the world's foremost experts in Greek sculpture just by looking at the statue and sensing their own "intuitive repulsion" had come to another. Who was right? For a time it wasn't clear. The kouros was the kind of thing that art experts argued about at conferences. But then, bit by bit, the Getty's case began to fall apart. The letters the Getty's lawyers used to carefully trace the kouros back to the Swiss physician Lauffenberger, for instance, turned out to be fakes. One of the letters dated 1952 had a postal code on it that didn't exist until twenty years later. Another letter dated 1955 referred to a bank account that wasn't opened until 1963. Originally the conclusion of long months of research was that the Getty kouros was in the style of the Anavyssos kouros. But that, too, fell into doubt: the closer experts in Greek sculpture looked at it, the more they began to see it as a puzzling pastiche of several different styles from several different places and time periods. The young man's slender proportions looked a lot like those of the Tenea kouros, which is in a museum in Munich, and his stylized, beaded hair was a lot like that of the kouros in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. His feet, meanwhile, were, if anything, modern. The kouros it most resembled, it turned out, was a smaller, fragmentary statue that was found by a British art historian in Switzerland in 1990. The two statues were cut from similar marble and sculpted in quite similar ways. But the Swiss kouros didn't come from ancient Greece. It came from a forger's workshop in Rome in the early 1980s. And what of the scientific analysis that said that the surface of the Getty kouros could only have aged over many hundreds or thousands of years? Well, it turns out things weren't that cut and dried. Upon further analysis, another geologist concluded that it might be possible to "age" the surface of a dolomite marble statue in a couple of months using potato mold. In the Getty's catalogue, there is a picture of the kouros, with the notation "About $30 BC, or modern forgery." When Federico Zeri and Evelyn Harrison and Thomas Hoving and Georgios Dontas and all the others looked at the kouros and felt an "intuitive repulsion," they were absolutely right. In the first two seconds of looking in a single glance they were able to understand more about the essence of the statue than the team at the Getty was able to understand after fourteen months."

I copied this introduction passage from Malcolm Gladwell's Blink bestseller. Gladwell is considered as one of the most influential authors and writes articles for the New Yorker, having worked long, before that, for the Washington Post. The first kouros depicted on top left is the fake one whereas the one below right is the Anavyssos kouros. The book makes an excellent reading that often leaves you stunned. It's one of the easiest readings I had in years and would be an excellent passtime for your upcoming vacation.


A comic shot in a local newspaper drew my attention this morning as it brought back past memories. An army soldier (blue beret) wiping with his handkerchief the sweat off the foreheads of his colleagues euzonoi (dressed in the traditional Republican Guard uniform - used to be the Royal Guard until ex-King Constantine was expelled following a referendum).

Temperatures in Athens are flirting with 40+ Celcius, just like this... My thoughts are with all those miserable students sweating tons of fluid off their bodies, while trying to memorize their course materials to pass the tests. Many prefer the beach instead, having already decided that they'll only try the following term in September. Life is too short to worry about passing first time over... this is why the system provides for a second try, innit?

Anyway, I was nerdy enough to try like hell and get everything done first time over; thus my choices stuck me on a sweaty chair trying to get ready for the tests. The air we were breathing was hot and hard to swallow in the lungs, filled up with pollution gazes from car exausts. The worst vehicles were the busses. I remember quite well to this day that we used to wash our hair in the morning, take the bus or trolley to the school a few kilometers down the road, spend the day there, coming home with an oily hair feeling, and wash our heads again. The first wash was dripping dark black water off our heads like with tinted hair. Nowadays, my hair is salt and pepper... I believe, if I was in Athens and didn't wash it daily I would still look dark haired as in my thirties... What a wonderful city... noooot?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amazon's Software Bestseller List!

This is the most unbelievable bestseller ranking list I came across in years. Take a look. It ranks the Amazon US Software item bestsellers. On top, at least when I looked last, were Microsoft's Office Student Edition and Office Student and Teacher edition for Mac. Third rank was an unborn child, Leopard, or the new version of Apple's Mac OSX operating system due to hit the market not earlier than begin next November (for all intents and purposes - Apple announced October which always turns to be October 31st). Windows XP family edition ranks on 19 and the Pro version on 30. Photoshop CS3 on position 55 and finally... Vista Ultimate upgrade on 62.

Ok, I am not suggesting that Apple sells (or will sell) more copies of its OS than Microsoft (how could it with only 5% market share?). Nonwithstanding, it is curious how immense a halo effect El Jobso creates on the Technology marketplace nowadays with anything he decides to throw in. Leopard is still unborn and already ranks just behind a product that sold hundreds of millions of copies. Makes you wonder...

Recently the New York Magazine made a cover story on His Jobness. The real Steve Jobs is probably "smiling behind his moustache" but the Fake Steve Jobs reacted with a marvel of a response as we are used of him...

Read on and enjoy:

"I warned you about the backlash. Here it is. Hold your noses and put on your spatter smocks, kids, because this one is a full-on hatchet job, and even goes so far as to lead in with an unflattering physical description of me, which is always the mark of the total pitbull attack piece. Nice touch right up top is where the writer, John Heilemann, uses the phrases "enfant terrible" and "eminence grise" in his first paragraph, just to let you know he took some Latin in high school. You see, this is New York magazine, whose motto is, "No, um, we're not The New Yorker, but we'd like to be," and where everyone has a tiny dick complex because they really want to be working at the New Yorker and they would be, maybe, if they didn't suck so bad. But they do. So what do you get? Pages and pages of overblown, puffed-up prose, mostly rehashing old info (Steve Jobs is an asshole) but done in this breathless, long-sentence style that's meant to make you think you're reading a really smart Malcolm Gladwell-style piece of business journalism. Executive summary for those of you too lazy to read the entire awful eight pages: Everyone in the phone business is scared about the iPhone, and they're hoping it will be a flop, but nobody (including John Heilemann) can say yet whether it will sink or swim; Steve Jobs is a dick and everyone hates him and if the iPhone fails his career is over.

Sorry, John Heilemann, but when you set us up with a big cover calling me iGod and making me look like shit, and when you get half the magazine for your story, we expect you to deliver something new, something interesting, something jarring, something smart. In short, something we didn't know before. We'd also expect you to maybe find out something bad, or to at least have the balls to say you think the iPhone is going to flop, instead of saying "maybe it will, maybe it won't." For that matter you might do your readers the courtesy of admitting that you hate me for arousing such feelings of man-lust in your tiny heart, and that your obsession with El Jobso is a way of masking (and, paradoxically, indulging) the hard-on you have for me. You might also just admit that New York magazine is just trying to cash in on the hype around the iPhone and looking for any excuse to put my face on your cover so you can sell more copies; but you think you can look cool if you dress it up as some kind of cynical, pseudo-psychological deep-think business piece.

Instead, John, you just come off looking like some guy who wishes he still worked at the New Yorker.

Right. As if. Friend, you're getting an Azzie award."


Monday, June 18, 2007

Touch down...

I know of certain members of my family who would consider a landing like this as the ultimate excuse for not flying ever again... well, who wants to live for ever?

Enjoy the two sattelite shots of the runway as well, courtesy of Google-Maps. St. Maarten is located in the Dutch Antilles, Carribean.

Mike Gravel for President.

Mike Gravel, the guy in the YouTube video below, is a US senator from Alaska who put himself up as a Presidential Candidate for the 2008 Presidential Elections. First time I saw this video at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I thought of it as a joke... after watching the entire clip at YouTube (the one displayed below) it got worse; I first thought the guy 's got Alzheimer's of some sort and his brain was turning into fluid... then I read comments by local US viewers, who certainly understand details of their own Politics better than I do, and I started to believe that the guy is not an isolated nutcase... at least not any more than the current administration...

Apparently, he's trying to make a statement; in his way he left scores of curious people wondering, especially in the US. Why does he throw a rock in the pond? Is this part of a performance art sort of act? Is the rock symbolic of what will happen to the US if Hillary or Obama were to win? Who knows? I am waiting for some illuminated suggestions...

Now, if you go watch another Presidential Debate video in which Gravel participates side by side with Hillary and Obama and the rest of the Democratic gang, organized by MSNBC, you'll see that the guy is totally against the war in Iraq and he's urging the Democrats to even pass a law declaring those soldiers who are stationed there as felons.

Although unusual in his peprception of reality, he's definitely not senile... yet... or, is he?

Is this as bad as it looks?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17, 1953

This is the date I came to this world 54 years ago. It's also the date, pre-Berlin-Wall times, when German workers in Soviet occupied East Berlin came to the streets to protest against their working conditions and Soviet demands for higher output. Some shouted "This is a revolution". The whole thing turned into a blood bath and years later, after the Wall was brought down and Germany re-united, June the 17th became a Public Holiday. I know all this from Peter Rasp from Duesseldorf, an ex-SSW colleague who surprised me one day to tell me that he could exactly tell my birthday (I would have never expected that from him as we didn't quite know each other too well... how the heck could he know my birthday, of all people... my own kids don't!).

Another great pal, Shaun Boyle from Dublin, ex-colleague from the times of JMA and TI-Software, made me a birthday present on my 50th birthday being a facsimile of the first page of the Irish Times on the day of 17 June 1953 (click picture for larger view). You can see what I said earlier about Berlin shows up on the top right corner under the title :"East Berlin Workers Defy Authorities". Cool... Bottom left on same paper an Aer Lingus ad, quite cute! Aer Lingus, the only airline with outside toilets, as Shaun used to say...

I was wondering how many of those who know me actually thought of my birthday this morning. Of course, besides Rita, because if she dare forget it would be the end of our marriage (!).

Well, I'll be damned, first thing that shows up in the mail is my ex-boss at CA, Tommy Bennett, with a short but sweet message "VASSILY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY"! Jeez! The man lives in New York, Long Island and he must have sent this late last night for me to pick it up this morning. Phenomenal... I don't know what it is why we want to be thought of on days like these... maybe it's the fact that we walk slowly towards the inevitable and start feeling lonely and left alone, who knows... but anyways, Tommy's message gave me such a warm feeling. Thank you Tommy, a lot, from my deepest... U R a great friend!

On birthdays, one may wonder about birthday presents... well, I make a habit to always go buy me a present by myself and spend good money on it. While window browsing at Fnac in Antwerp yesterday noon, there I saw that famous 18-200mm VR Nikon lens that Nikos Yalelis, a colleague at Intrasoft has been motivating me for so long to go buy... Ten minutes later I have been walking out of the shop with 700 euros less in my pocket and one more lens for my collection... (picture at left, showing the lens mounted on one of my Nikon bodies)... you see, some people buy 19th century Japanese prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai to hang on walls... equally, I also buy stuff Made in Japan (Nikons and Canons - ssssht, don't tell the wife, please)...

What do I plan to do today, you said? Well, first of all, I've been editing this posting... I then need to install and test a brand new 11n D-Link Wireless card on Rita's Vista box... and then it will be loads of pictures shot to test my new Nikon goodies... what else? It's probably gonna rain again, like yesterday, so, like the Flemish say : "Oost, west, thuis best!" meaning, "East or West, staying home is the best of all..."

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Today I visited the first ever solo photography expo in Antwerp of a long time friend, Bart Van Den Broeck. Bart used to live the life of a yuppie in his 20ies and 30ies, as a financial manager in one of the leading Port of Antwerp "Naties", but one day he decided he wanted to do things he really loved to do, and this for the rest of his life. Few of us are brave enough to have the courage and do just that. I envy him...

One of the things that turn Bart on is top quality photography. In his mid-thirties, wholeheartedly encouraged in this endeavor by his lovely wife Herma, he thus went to study Professional Photography at the Academy in Antwerp for many years (five or six I think) and with a lot of humility he started creating portfolios during small trips not far from the Metropole. This slowly has grown to some trips to the South of Europe and this expo is about his view of Palermo, Sicily (where else?).

With the colors and realism of Martin Parr, capturing the moment like Bresson and Doisneau, Bart is showing his talents in a subtle but solid manner. His composition is superb, his 36x24 mm film Leica shooting reveals a subtle vignetting that creates a dramatic and extremely powerful focus on his subjects. His characters, so real and natural, look like they have been casted by Fellini himself. The whole sphere is so Mediteranean... Sicily is kind of wild landscape... the blue is lot more ruthless and obsessive than what we witness under the Aegean sun and locals look physically much harder than their Greek siblings... Only Sicilians could have become the ruthless Mafiosi as we know them. Looking at their faces you can see what I mean. And in the middle of all this you see the omnipresent church with two posing priests, May confirmation ceremonies of 12 year olds and subsequent parties with liters of Barolo wine, mama Miracolli's pasta and towers of gelati.. During just a week's stay in Palermo and with more than 500 shots taken, Bart really seems to have crowled under their Italian skin. Pictures taken with his beloved Leica M5 on Fujichrome and subsequently digitized for printing on paper.

Italians, expecially coming from the South will really appreciate the compositions and will inevitably feel like buying part or the entire collection.

The gallery is just opposite the Oudaan parking in the center of the city at the back of a wine commerce shop at nr 33 of the Everdijstraat. Certainly worth a visit.

It's interesting to note that before visiting the expo, we went, Rita and I, for lunch at a low end tourist Pizzeria "Da Giovanni" on both sides of the street leading from the Groenplaats to the Cathedral of Antwerp. One of Giovanni's shops is a Pizzeria, the other is a Ristorante; by positioning them on both sides of the same street Giovanni manages to capture a huge clientéle among tourists passers by, just like Trojans imposing duties on ships sailing thru the pass of Dardanelia...

As we entered Da Giovanni's, the cappo himself, looking a lot like a rough character from Naples, changing shirts and undershirts every 30 minutes or so, sweating behind the pizza bench, welcomed us with a top decibel loud "Bongiorno Dottore!". I thought: "how could he tell? Am I carrying a Dottore sign on my forehead for crying out loud?".

The visit to Da Giovanni's was meant as a warming up to get to the Palermo expo afterwards... I love Italian restaurants... they've always got hundreds of low pay Italian youths as waiters who make so much noise shouting, singing and bringing the wrong orders or even forgetting to deliver them but... not to bill them... So, when I asked for a capuccino coffee I got something back like "sorry the macchina is kapoet" and therefore I ordered a normal coffee instead. A quarter later, not having received any coffee we asked for the bill... bill delivered and paid and while waiting for the heavy rain to stop before leaving, a lovely waitress finds out that they billed me 2.25 euros for an espresso that they never served me... apologizing she came by with a good fresh cup of coffie and extra cookies and millions of excuses... Oh the spaghetti's... they are such a charmful gang... As I was watching them I was thinking..."how are Italian restaurants different than any other?"... "Eureka! Waiter staff are much more noisy than their own clientéle... that really must be it!"

Friday, June 15, 2007

The 2 Technology Titans meet again...

This video lasts 90 minutes but is great fun and experience to watch. If there's no Big Brother or CSI or Martha Stewart on your TV tonite, watch this... you might learn something you didn't know... ;-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The phone that promises to change the world of comms for ever...

Last Monday, June 11th, between 7:00pm and 8:30pm, CET, I was glued to my Mac Book and linked to an Engadget URL that continuously refreshed live blogs posted by Engadget reporters in the Grande Salle during Steve Jobs WWDC 2007 keynote pitch. Steve's keynote that lasted for about 90 minutes was actually all but the last few seconds about the new OSX version to be released next October, a.k.a. Leopard (Apple uses wild cats as OS names whereas MSFT uses mountain and bar names - Longhorn?).

The ten new OSX features that Steve demo'ed in his keynote out of a total of 300 to be eventually delivered, were fun to watch and it has been proven time and again that Apple designers are from another planet. The currently available OSX version is miles ahead of the competition. Leopard will apparently set the bar even higher. That's good for Mac users... however, I believe, Microsoft will have to continue at a lower pace than Apple in terms of OS revisions and eventually admit that it's useless to keep going after Mac designers for ever. Microsoft OS'es are fairly open and support a myriad of PC related hardware from a gazillion suppliers; major MSFT OS revisions need driver re-coding for literally millions of available devices out there (1,5M for Vista I think I heard). If I were them, I'd just fix security and stability in my OS'es and plan them for lifecycles of at least 12 to 15 years... then watch the Apple wizards invent the "future" (far too soon for masses to adopt, sorry to say) and learn from their mistakes.

Anyway, Microsoft also works on a number of innovative initiatives around future user interfaces with multi-touch screens (as we saw them demonstrated in a number of video clips on the net and in the yet to be delivered iPhone) and also user interfaces with images projected on tables, walls, windows, etc where users use their hands in "Minority Report" fashion to interact with computers. Cool stuff...

At the last 3 minutes of his keynote pitch, His Jobness spoke about the iPhone. "One last thing", Steve said... Every developer in the audience felt it was the moment that he'd announce the long awaited iPhone SDK. The SDK is a toolkit that developers use to build apps for the iPhone. The news about the SDK "leaked" in the press in the last week (or somethin') before the WWDC event. So everyone knew that Steve will touch upon the subject one way or another. Of course, the iPhone goes on sale June 29th, 6pm at all US Apple and AT&T stores. Only three weeks left and no developer ever believed that in that short time span any potential third party application for the iPhone would have a snowball's chance in hell to be ready for shipment. How could it? No SDK released to the masses yet! Bloody Apple demons!

Well, his Jobness surprised the troops again and made their day. No need for SDK, he said..."if any application has been written according to the latest Web 2.0 standards and Ajax", he pointed, "then it could run perfectly on the iPhone". What does the trick is the fact that Apple loaded the entire full fledged Safari engine (Apple's browser) on the iPhone. Safari will act as a "container" for the iPhone applets of any of those third party developers. Wunderbar! He added a bounty by saying that any third party code would be offered to use all standard services already embedded in the iPhone. In other words, all you need is a great idea for the mobile gadget... turning the idea into code promises to be dead easy even for your aunt...

Read further an article by an interesting figure, Om Malik, based in California, a regular guest in Johh C. Dvorak's videocast Cranky Geeks. Om predicts that this simple event announced in the last few seconds of Jobs' pitch will change the world of mobile communications devices for ever. Go read his article...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Buy Apple lap and desktops to run your best Windows ever...

Parallels has just published version 3.0 of their Desktop for Mac software. From now on you have no excuses to go buy anything else than Apple desktops and laptops. Not only they are the coolest looking personal computers but they run both operating systems (Mac and Windows) on the same desktop (see capture below). From inside windows you can run a Mac app and vice versa... performance speeds are just right, and for gamers, all the HW acceleration they need is just there waitin' for them. Steve Jobs for ever!

What the heck are you waiting for? Go buy a MacBook ! Your only chance to be cool!

Click on the picture for full resolution vewing...

What does the trick is the Intel processor architecture on the Core 2 Duo chips typically available in most Macs nowadays. Those marvels support the so-called virtualization which makes it possible to run a virtual OS within the MAC OSX (windowed or not) almost natively. Previous virtualization solutions that run in soft mode were dogs and never really broke thru. Contemporary solutions offered by Parallels (the one I own) and VMWare are a lot more efficient and take full advantage of the virtualization provided within the dual core Intel processors.

We waited for long to see this working... but the wait was worth. That stuff works great!

The Sleeper

Do you remember "The Sleeper"? A Woody Allen movie from the 70ies, one of his lesser works? It appears that Google crawlers (agent software that collects the latest online press articles from the net and reports them on a company's financials pages) picked-up some online "newspaper" this morning, Hindustan Times (?), that suffers from a similar to "Sleeper" syndrom.

Pay attention to the two HT articles, reported as A and B, that are posted this morning next to AAPL's stock performance graph of June 11th... (that's yesterday). Link to them and you see that they are "re-published" today, on June 12th, 2007 although they were originally posted on 13/09/2006 the former and on 1/3/2007 the latter. So we learn (hot from the press) that Apple will eventually launch iTV and the iPhone as well as a new mini iPod...

It seems to me that the HT editor-in-chief asked one of his younger reporters to post something on APPLE about the 2007 WWDC that commenced yesterday in St-Francisco... so the poor lad (probably missed his flight to SF) came up with no better than dig out of their grave those two articles. And of course, Google's crawlers didn't miss a thing! Cool. That's news!

Click on the captured image above for clean view. When I first read the titles I thought I missed something serious from Steve's WWDC keynote yesterday. Further inspection however led me to "what the heck is goin' on here ?!?!" and some nastier foulness. I wonder when HT will find out, if ever, about their boneheadness... They probably need to pay for some ISO consulting care...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Al Qaeda flying next to you...

The next time you find yourself on a plane, sitting next to someone who cannot resist chattering to you endlessly, I urge you to quietly pull your laptop out of your bag, carefully open the screen (ensuring the irritating person next to you can see it), and hit this link.

Silicon Valley Bloggers

I have recently discovered this anonymous geek who started a blog as the Fake Steve Jobs. Many consider him as "Steve's alter ego" cos he seems to know more that you'd expect about His Holliness.

I took a dive in his archives and... Gosh, if you really feel down, go surf his blog. It's a scream. I copied here an extract from his "Clintstones" episode, an alleged encounter between the Silicon Valley's top CEO's and VCs and the Clintons in August 2006 to raise money for Hillary's upcoming Presidential campaign:

( text towards the end of the article... after Hillary's been quite arrogant to the Valley Semi-Gods, Steve had enough and stands up to address the ambitious ex-First Lady, after she made fun of his "John Lennon" 60ies hippie glasses)

... Now I'm the one who's stunned. I mean nobody makes fun of my John Lennon glasses. Nobody. I mean, seriously. So for a long time I just sit there, staring down at my hands, and I feel like my friggin head is gonna explode or something, and Doerr, who knows how I feel about my glasses, he says, Steve, whatever you're thinking, just let it go, okay? Just let it go. But I can't help myself. I go, Lady, let me tell you something. I grew up in this Valley, OK? And nobody comes into our Valley and talks to us like this, okay? You see the guys in this room? We built the friggin Internet with our bare hands, you understand? Me personally, I've been through hell and back. I got fired from my own company. I survived cancer. Then I invented the friggin iPod. Have you heard of it? You want our money, you want to be president, well you come and ask us, nice. You kiss the ring, like everybody else. You got that straight? And by the way, have you heard of Pilates? Cause you’ve got a really big fat lumpy ass. Seriously. It's like two big balloons full of oatmeal. Scary.

Hilary sits there with smoke coming out of her ears. Beside her, I swear, Bill is kinda laughing, or trying not to laugh or whatever. The whole room is silent. Then, way down at the far end of the table, T.J. Rodgers stands up and starts doing a slow clap, all by himself. Then the others join in. Pretty soon the whole room is clapping and shouting, Steve, Steve, Steve -- except for Doerr, of course, and the cyborg VCs who are programmed to do exactly what Doerr does at all times. The Clintstones and Soros make for the door, with Doerr scrambling after them apologizing and begging them not to leave, but Hilary just says, F- you, gerbil, don't call me ever again, and throws us all the finger, but we all just roar laughing and give her the finger right back. Ha! Thanks for coming to California, lady. Come back anytime!

Seriously, dudes, do not vote for her. That's all I'm gonna say. Peace out...

Sodom and Gomorrah...

The guy is talking about Lot who is supposed to "Pitch his tents", but as the Greeks say: "Erroneous tongue will always reveal the truth", the evangelist ends up spitting out his thought by "Lot pinched his teets"... Hillarious

The Flemish get smart...

Yesterday's national polls demonstrate that Flemish politicians cannot fool around anymore with the Flemish voters. The current governing coalition between Liberals and Socialists have eventually fucked up in this election BIG TIME, following a torrent of obnoxious and childish blunders. Local media present almost daily most of the tricks of the trade that governing parties pull out of their hat to get things "done". No place to hide. Dirty politics are presented to the voters like episodes from a soap opera. The result is a strong message from the voters to the politicians: " Dudes, nobody's safe! If you think you've grown a huge dick by being elected by us in the previous term... we've got news for you: don't fuck-up or you're about to fuck-off next time over!"

That's exactly what happened yesterday. The new Christian Democrats (CD&V), confined to the opposition for eight long years, won the polls under a new strong man, Yves Leterme, big time! Not because those fockers (pardon my Irish accent) are any better from the governing Liberals... far from. It was just the reaction of the average Joe out of anger about the boneheads of the current coalition, especially those braindead Machiavellistic and populist Socialists...

Eight years ago, it was the old Christian Democrat party (CVP) who had to pay the price as governing coalition because of their incompetence in execution of government and their subsequent cover-ass tactics. The then Prime Minister, Jean Luc Dehaene (a sumo-fighter look-alike figure, used to swallowing little alive fish into his zeppelin-shaped belly for fun, riding mechanical rodeo bulls at Billie-Bob's in Fort Worth, Texas with "laat de beast go" cries) screwed up with numerous government cock-ups, among which the infamous Dioxine poultry contamination fraud that forced the entire population abandon bird meat consumption for months. Long story short, JL got what he deserved and out of government for ever. Same happened to split-front-teeth Terry Thomas look-alike Guy Verhofstadt yesterday, our current coalition Prime Minister, who in an emotional farewell appearance to the public kissed his current job good-bye and off into the market for a real job. Verhofstadt admitted full responsibility for yesterday's disastrous elections outcome (IMHO it looked more like he was admitting his own personal arrogance and incompetence, but anyways...).

So, this morning they'll start again more of the same. Negotiations among parties, kiss-ass tactics, shooting-old-mates-in-the-back tricks, and always-somebody-else's-fault cover-ass excuses.

If I had the power for a day, I'd first declare the Socialist party retarded and unfit for any future polls and I would send the VLD party President to farm roosters in Mechelen (the town he came from) and the CD&V party President (the party that won yesterday's polls) to the Vatican as a Papal Assistant (serving him tea and cosher cookies sort-of-thing).

The only good news is that our new Parlement can save some tax-payer money from engaging the necessary security agents from the kingdom of the Apes. I am hearing that two Belgian judo ex-champs were elected to this chamber of representatives... Cool! Let's see some real fights then. With points, KOs and all...