Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yep, Vista runs great on iMacs...

...too bad Leopard doesn't !!?!!

Isn't that too sweet to swallow? It's very true though. Have a look at some user complaints about the constant freezing of iMacs after people installed the super hyped Leopard OSX 10.5. And you thought these things only happen to Microsoft? Shame on you...

I guess Apple is growing up... even with their own fully controlled hardware components they don't seem to be able to code proper drivers. The blunt with the gorgeous iMacs will go down in history as one of their biggest failures. I mean, this is bad... real bad... It's like Mercedes Benz came up with their brightest and newest model and after early adopters rush out to buy their own, they find that the motor turns off and the brakes freeze after only driving 100 feet down the road... and the vehicle magically finds itself at the starting point of their journey again.

Does this seem too hilarious to be true? You bet... I haven't met many iMac owners though, who could laugh with that shit! I even wonder about the new iMacs Apple is selling as we speak... I bet you they all crash as well, at least if they are put on Leopard. This is as close as possible I ever felt consumers should go after Apple real big for everything they got!

Conclusion. What I learned all my career still holds true even for Apple developers working under the usual intimidating threatenings by his Jobness. Code developers love spaghetti code and never manage to test their stuff properly. Because professional code developers are a bunch of amateurs. If airplanes were built like modern computer programs, most of us whould have crashed to our death long ago!

Update: Apparently Leopard runs without freezing on newer iMacs and those they (Apple dealers) display at their shops. Apple also published an update for iMacs and Leopard known as 1.3. It didn't do much to mine but apparently this helped other users.  Who the hell knows what's happening...

Replace the Leopard's login screen background!!

Read this, kids! Very useful...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mad Max

I always thought of rap artists as senseless frigards with the IQ of a single cell organism... pure instict that is. I must admit that I like some of Eminem's songs though. When I was younger that was.

Lots of people believe rap being a phenomenal form of performance art where music (which one?) and literature combine to tell us about the miserable lives of inner city dickheads.

Recently, a smart kid, a student at an Oakland High School, turned in a paper in which he translated into 'normal' English the lyrics of this Mad Max villain Notorious B.I.G. album 'Ready to die' (I'm waiting impatiently for this to happen). The kid received first honors for his work and you can go read his original paper right here.

I am copying one small excerpt...

"LYRICS:
And my jam knock in the Mitsubishi
Girls pee pee when they see me, Nava-hoes creep me in they tee pee
As I lay down laws like I lay carpet
Stop it - if you think your gonna make a profit

TRANSLATION:
I enjoy playing my music loudly on my car stereo. Apparently, women enjoy this also because they become sexually aroused when they see me driving. Oddly enough, when I visit the Native American reservations, some of the more sexually promiscuous Indian women attempt to seduce me in their homes. Their intent is to divest me of my earnings. Such actions are unacceptable...."

What do we learn from this?

A few things...

Rap artists are notorious dickheads, too stupid to learn any descent language, preferring English sounding jungle animal roars, who live to get laid and get fat. They think of themselves as... cool, by rap-ing like this, and they are also... hot for those fat (swingin') ass broads who get horny at the sight of those tasteless fatsos (being equally single digit IQ creatures themselves).

All they care is what they hold in their underpants and they can only talk about it because there's no free space available in their little tiny brains to think about anything else. And they love to carry guns as well. You see, it's extremely 'brave' to shoot someone (preferably in the back) that confront him with your own power and skill in a body to body fight (like Leo in 300).

I only got one single recommendation for humanoids of that sort: Guantanamo Bay! They might lose some weight and get some extra IQ units into their scull (although I seriously doubt about the latter).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Leopard that didn't roar!

Those who follow my blog know that I love Apple to death... and that I own most of their products, to the point I even buy stuff that I don't have the time to use... like 15 different iPods sort of thing (don't tell Rita 'bout this).

I wouldn't be me if I didn't have an official version of Leopard in the 3D reflection box before it hit the streets on Oct 26th, last Friday that is. So I did. UPS was at my doorstep few hours before zero-count. It was early CET afternoon and a few hours to go before the Apple homepage stopped countdown. I wanted to report on Leo by showing an installed version in my box before time zero. Back to the future sort of thing. Timeline and teleportation combined.

The first machine I selected to install the darn thing was my super-trooper iMac aluminum 24 inch with 2.8 processor speed and half a tera in storage. Installation of the new OS normally takes a bit short of an hour on any recent box. Mine stopped at "another 17 minutes" to go, for... an hour. I stopped the upgrade then and I started again by doing an "archive and install" this time. It worked... sort of. Once booted in the new OS the box has been hanging even if you breathed-out close to the monitor... UNBELIEVABLE! Piece of GARBAGE that we were only used from Microsoft, back in 1989.

I couldn't remember when I've been frustrated like this ever before. F*ckin' Jobs, I been thinking... how could you? I rushed at the Net for news, but then, it was too early for anyone to have had the same problem and reported on it.

Long story short... appears that boxes like mine, that were sold last August, have had the freezing problem because of buggy ATI graphics card drivers. First this happened following Apple's recent update 1.1 for the iMacs last September. I had that too and believe I reported that on an earlier blog. Everybody was waiting for Leopard to solve that problem. Wishful bleeding thinking. Same problem occurred with Leo and even worse.

Needless to say, Leo installs without a hitch on any other box I tried to be sure that it was an iMac problem. Yes, I was right: It's the bleeding iMac 24 with the darn ATI Radeon card that is the issue.

Apart from this bad luck, Leo, where I tried him, is a charm. Faster, and a lot more efficient. Timeline is gorgeous and all the small new things (300+) hidden here and there are fun to discover.

Nevertheless, no excuse for the defect graphics drivers. I can't even blame AMD... if Apple can't guarantee faultless drivers on that particular card then they better replace that sh*t with something that works.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Changing the paradigm...

Innovation is about changing the goalposts. Shifting the paradigm. It's about changing the rules and about creating needs that weren't before or they were but hidden underneath, away from anybody's sight.

It takes a special talent to be innovative. One good example is Philips, in Eindhoven. Most of us know their invention of the CD and the compact audio cassette but there are so many other examples before these two as well as after, not to forget their recent Senseo coffee machine...

The most known example is of course Mr. Jobs and his mighty Apple Inc. He first 'stole' Xerox PARC's ideas (in fairness, he actually turned their research into something useful, which makes him the innovative Master) and changed overnight the way PCs looked, away from the ugly Big Blue IBM character based dump 3270 terminals. He introduced technologies into his PCs (pardon me... his Macs) that others only dreamed of (FireWire, build-in CD readers/writers, ...) and then they had to copy him. He brought style and color into an everyday life object that most others painted gray (how stupid can someone be... we lived thirty years with ugly gray boxes... when will they ever learn).

He brought hefty miniature hard disks into the MP3 players and where others were struggling with Megabytes he offered as many Gigabytes. He put again style into a product that was simply all about listening to music. He even legalized the songs download market to profit those pitiful and ungrateful Music Labels, made of sharks chewing for breakfast both consumers and artists, may they burn in hell.

Ever since the iPhone and the iPod Touch Jobs is on the way to change the paradigm again. This time is about the way we interact with display monitors. Microsoft pushed for stylus driven tablet PCs a few years back, with loads of marketing buzz and few years later they haven't sold no sh*t! Other than to their own employees that is... Because, among other, they are using too many 'verbs', as Jobs puts it. Works this way... just like in pre-historic Sun Microsystems CAD workstations. You point at an object with your stylus and you go find a button with an action (verb) written on it. You need two steps to make this work. First the object... then the action. Looks stupid and it's much less efficient to most of us who have used mice for more than 25 years.

No 'verbs' in Apple interfaces though. The new Jobs interface is something different, designed from the ground up to look natural to humanoids. I am using a Touch iPod for a month now and I wouldn't change the interface for the world. Can you believe this? I used to carry a laptop to surf the Web, for years, while watching TV, sitting on the sofa during evening hours after dinner, by the spouse. The thing needed power and got warm and was heavy to move around and the fan was noisy and the wife was annoyed from all this and would curse me and call herself a PC-widow... and... and... All gone now, I got all my favorite URLs stored in the iPod and can catch up with the latest news by simply touching the screen. Letters too small to read? Pinch them apart and they grow to your heart's desire for a blind to read them. No Power needed, and plenty of apps to go around. And if the TV programming over the 500 available channels still looks lousy, no problem... YouTube is there to bring you viewing experiences never thought of before... a magic window to the world of common people enjoying themselves with video clips in low budget productions. Real stuff, with real people.

Viva El Jobso!

You've got to see it to believe it. El Jobso did it again. It was Apple's Q4 financial results announcement yesterday, one hour after the close. I tried to connect to their webcast but I couldn't; I guess it was either crowded or for guests only (I reckon the former).

During regular trading AAPL stock picked 2.3 percent (about four bucks) and even gave some bullish direction to the whole of the Nasdaq and the Dow. Markets were somehow recovering from Friday's witches.

El Jobso came to the scene at 2pm Pacific and announced Apple's stellar results... 1.1M iPhones sold in the quarter and 1.4M if you count the weekend of the launch, more than 10M iPods in the quarter, 2.5M Mac computers. Quarterly profit soared to more than 900M USD and sales were up 27% from a year ago. Guidance for the next quarter (holiday season) is above 9B. Pay attention... we are talking about replacement markets here... not brand new space! Each market share percent point won by Apple is a market share percent point lost by someone else, right? Wow! And Wow again! El Jobso, the Holy Man of modern management! Or better said: The Olympic God! The man doesn't live by the established rules! Never did! He just creates them. And he's never had any formal training. Just his mighty brainware.

What did this do to their stock price you ask? We'll have to wait and see this pm (CET) but in after hours trading yesterday evening it got catapulted to a hefty 184 greenbacks, almost 7% (click at the picture above for the situation six hours after the announcements). This put their market cap well above IBM's this time! They kinda overtook HP last week and they will just leave IBM behind today. Redmond cyborgs, you better watch His Jobness.

You know, them Microsofties are thinking of launching a cheap phone (read here). They still live under the illusion that they can overtake any winner product once it has established a solid market. They did it over and over again in the past... they think they could do it again; only problem, in the past it was Magic Bill who was in control. Monkey boy only knows jumping from one tree to another and taking the piss on anyone standing in his way. And they still believe that their stock will pick up momentum... not in a million years, I am selling them for good now, them lousy losers.

El Jobso, the Messiah! I mean, if you ever stood at a CEO chair to run a company you'll know what I mean. Especially in the US. To build a world leader organization from the ashes of a company in shambles in just 10 years, to increase its market cap and beat any financial benchmarks conceivable by factors of hundreds, to make front page news on each product you launch, to get yourself known by 80 year old grannies who couldn't tell a telephone from a nutcracker... to make products that one year olds can operate, what can I say! Wow! Oh Man! Wow!

Viva El Jobso!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Airbus 380

You got to love this, I promise you. Make sure you put-up your best 16:9 monitor and surf into the pictures... Kinda fasten your seatbelt, relax and enjoy the flight! Only with Singapore Airlines... for the time being, that is.

It's plain off the charts!

Mighty Microsoft I love you!

I was just trying a beta of the new Office for Mac (edition 2008) and fell into trying the Messenger. I am not much of an IM fan nowadays (used to be one when most people were still having normal weekends) but just for kicks I went on to try the Encarta Instant Answers facility they have. It's a screamer, trust me...

It tells me to select an Encarta Source... I pick UK. Then it tells me to ask anything I like, so I go, what is the population of the European Union... it responds 1098 people; seriously!

Then the rest is just fun to read (click on the shot here to see that I am not pulling your legs)

Here you go ( transcript of my entire conversation):

"Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation. To help prevent infection by a computer virus or worm, never accept or open any file or link in an instant message until you verify its authenticity with the sender.


VJK says: (14:38:26)
what is this?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:27)
This Microsoft Agent is powered by Windows Live Agents. Microsoft's Privacy Statement (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=74170) applies to all information which you provide to this Microsoft Agent. Please be careful about information which you provide to online services and follow safety tips, some of which can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/default.mspx.
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:27)
Hi again, VJK!
I can now answer your questions using any of the following Encarta sites:
1 Encarta Australia
2 Encarta Canada (English)
3 Encarta UK
4 Encarta US

Just pick one and we'll be on our way!
VJK says: (14:38:48)
3
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:48)
OK, I'll be using Encarta UK to display my results!
Here are some questions you can ask me:
* What is the population of Sweden?
* When was Nelson Mandela born?
* How many calories are there in an orange?

You can type "use Encarta US" or "use Encarta Australia", etc., to change your version.
Note: not all features are available in all markets.
VJK says: (14:39:18)
what is the population of the European Union
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:19)
1,098 people live in Union.
VJK says: (14:39:31)
Are you sure?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:32)
It's hard to say.
VJK says: (14:39:47)
How hard then?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:48)
How hard then? What are you talking about?
VJK says: (14:39:57)
How hard is it to say?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:58)
How hard? Harder than you think!
VJK says: (14:40:26)
C'm on ! You are an encyclopedia for crying out loud!
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:40:27)
Unfortunately I don't think I can answer this, even with the help of a good encyclopedia.

I'm sure you've heard about Micronesia... but do you know where it is? Just ask me and I'll show it to you on a map!
VJK says: (14:40:46)
Micronesia?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:40:47)
I know many things about the Federated States of Micronesia, its geography, its people and its government. Just ask me a specific question, for instance:

What is the highest point in the Federated States of Micronesia?
How old do women live in the Federated States of Micronesia?
Who is the head of state of the Federated States of Micronesia?
VJK says: (14:41:06)
I was talking about the European Union !
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:07)
No kidding? How did it feel to be talking about the European Union?
VJK says: (14:41:17)
bad!
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:18)
I'll get over it.

I do enjoy the conversation, but what I'm really here for is to help you learn new things. What is the largest country in the world? If you don't know, just ask me!
VJK says: (14:41:34)
I am not learning much so to say...
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:34)
Don't worry, even if you are that's fine with me..."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fatsos rule...

Speaks for itself... there's also recently proven that this index inversely correlates, and quite strongly it does, with each country's average IQ... the higher the body mass index the lower the IQ. This is called the anti-Watson theory!

(click on map for larger view)

The shocking news is of course, one in three Americans is obese... that's the end of the world as we know it! Long live Fast Food!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My favorite singer with her newest song...



Katie Melua... if you were a sailboat... that's one cool song folks!

Karaoke along... you'll love this as much as I do...

"If you were a cowboy I would trail you,
If you were a piece of wood I'd nail you to the floor.
If you were a sail boat I would sail you to the shore.
If you were a river I would swim you,
If you were a house I would live in you all my days.
If you're a preacher I'd begin to change my ways.

Sometimes I believe in fate,
But the chances we create,
Always seem to ring more true.
You took a chance on loving me,
I took a chance on loving you.

If I was in jail I know you'd spring me
If I was a telephone you'd ring me all day long
If I was in pain I know you'd sing me soothing songs.

Sometimes I believe in fate,
But the chances we create,
Always seem to ring more true.
You took a chance on loving me,
I took a chance on loving you.

If I was hungry you would feed me
If I was in darkness you would lead me to the light
If I was a book I know you'd read me every night

If you were a cowboy I would trail you,
If you were a piece of wood I'd nail you to the floor.
If you were a sail boat I would sail you to the shore.
If you were a sail boat I would sail you to the shore"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who knows Dave Winer? Who doesn't?

That's how he describes himself in his blog:

"I’ve been a blogger as long as there’s been such a thing, starting in 1996 with a blog around a project I was doing at HotWired, where I was a contributing editor.

I’ve been credited with developing or co-developing many popular Internet technologies, including RSS, OPML, XML-RPC, SOAP. I’ve been a software developer since the mid-late 70s, having worked on outliners, presentations software, scripting, content management and blogging tools.

I’ve been a lead developer, company executive, board member, investor, editor, research fellow and blogger..."

Could you imagine that a guy like this would have trouble operating his iPhone? Read here. And that's what FSJ responded when he heard this...

"This week's "Assy" goes to computer industry legend Dave Winer for complaining about his iPhone ringer being broken or not working and then finding out that, um, all he had to do was flip a friggin switch. I mean come on. We've got dogs using iPhone. We've got one-year-olds using it. And yet David Winer, one of the biggest living legends of technology, can't follow the instructions on his little pamphlet? BTW, FWIW, according to his website David invented RSS, XML, blogs, Internet video, VOIP, HTML, podcasting, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Perl and Linux. He also co-invented Netscape Navigator before Marc Andreessen got involved and was one of the original co-founders of America Online. He's a recipient of the Turing Award, and in his spare time he writes Groklaw with Eric Raymond. And he has a master's degree. In computer science. But he can't operate an iPhone. And his first thought was that this must be our fault. Siooma, Whiny."

Now, honest! ain't this story to die for?

This is one cool bunch!


Look @ all these happy smiles. Could it be so because of the little shiny logo at the back of their laptop flat-screens? It could...

To also think that these folks are all attending classes at the LBS (London, UK) makes it even more interesting. The revolution is already happening, dudes...

Now then, you might need to read the story behind this picture as blogged by FSJ. And fasten your seatbelt as it promises to be a huge ROTFLMFAO. Especially the part about business schools is a scream. I shouldn't LOL though because I'd be shooting my own foot, wouldn't I?

Every family has its black sheep...

This is one of these stories that deserves to make the Guiness Book of Records of the "improbable come true": Barak Obama and Dickie Cheney are 8th degree cousins via a common ancestor back then...

I don't know what this is gonna make to Obama's campaign... maybe he should run for the Neocons now.

In any case, Obama's spokesman told reporters about each family having a black sheep... It reminded me of a touring cabaret lead star called Lulu, in a 70ies Lucky Luke comics album, complaining about her family's black sheep being a... sheriff.

As they say, life is a bitch!

PS. Did you notice that my link above refers to an Al Jazeera report?! I bet you they loved reporting this. It was the first thing that popped up on me when googling 'Obama Cheney cousins'. True story!

Googling stuff... who looks for what?

I always thought of male Turks being horny above average; that would also explain where modern Greeks got this from, as well... Read this recent Reuters article about who's searching what on Google:

'... BERLIN, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Internet users in Egypt, India and Turkey are the world's most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword "sex" on Google search engines, according to statistics provided by Google Inc.

Germany, Mexico and Austria were world's top three searchers of the word "Hitler" while "Nazi" scored the most hits in Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom, data from 2004 to the present retrievable on the "Google Trends" Web site showed...'

The one I thought was priceless was about Italian machos massively Googling 'Viagra'! Who could have ever thought? Click here for the rest of the article and some good laughs...

Apple is all over...

Did you notice anything about Apple this week? It seems that they are again all over the news for a number of reasons:

1. Announced commercial availability of Leopard, their latest cat, for October 26th. They started a countdown on their homepage from 10 days to the end. They have also published all the 300+ extra features Leopard (OSX 10.5) will bring along. Would this 300 have something to do with Leonidas? Like Leopard/Leonidas? If he only knew, the poor sod!

2. Announced their intent to release an iPhone SDK (software development kit) for developers who want to develop and sell their own iPhone and iPod Touch native applets. For those of you familiar, the only 3rd party apps possible today (not that bad if you have a fast web connection) are actually accessible on the web... you simply connect to a URL with your iPhone and/or (WiFi) iPod Touch and your gadget gets a specially formatted functionality ranging from calculators, horoscopes, news, digg. Mostly it's also free. Apple published a list of those available todate. However, you better have them apps stored in your piece than depend on web connectivity, right? That's what they now make possible. Expect first samples to hit the market from end of Q1, 2008.

3. The biggest news though, and we'll have to see it to believe it is that for Apple to launch the iPhone in France they'll have to comply with local laws prohibiting them from linking (locking) their product to one preferred operator (Orange for that matter). It seems that they agreed to commercialize two versions then, one locked to Orange and one unlocked but more expensive. If that holds true then there is still hope for us morons Belgians, who happen to have the same laws with France on the issue in question.

4. And... the sexiest news are about the growth of their Mac computer market share in the US PC market from 6.2 percent a year ago to 8.1 percent nowadays. To most of you this might sound quite boring, unless you one happy Apple stock owner, like that Saudi prince, Al somethin', who must have made the best part of a gazillion dollars on Apple in the last few years alone... (I remember a few years back when Apple was in shambles, Al 'Z' bought to himself a generous small percent of the total of Apple's outstanding shares... good for him!).

5. And last, but not least, they cut the price of their DRM free songs back to the familiar 99 cents a song. I wish I knew that a few days ago. Anyways...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phthalates...

Phtha... whaaat ?!?*$!?

Honest to Goad, it took me some time to first realize what Pilates was, having heard my friend Nikos regularly performing them at the gym! Now I got another ...lates term. Sounds like Starbucks Grand Lattes, doesn't it?

Turns out Phthalates is a hazardous chemical banned from many places of the 'civilized' world (that's SF and the EU to y'all) for potentially harming consumers. Read here what I found in the Wikipedia article (to scream for):

"...Phthalates are also frequently used in nail polish, fishing lures, adhesives, caulk, paint pigments, and sex toys made of so-called "jelly rubber." Some vendors of jelly rubber sex toys advise covering them in condoms when used internally, due to the possible health risks. Other vendors do not carry jelly rubber sex toys, in favor of phthalate-free varieties.[1] The Dutch office of Greenpeace UK sought to encourage the European Union to ban sex toys that contained phthalates.[2]..."

Why do I bother? Here's why!

"...According to Greenpeace the tests revealed chemicals that included “phthalates” in the vinyl plastic earphone wiring at levels that are prohibited in young children’s toys in San Francisco and the European Union (EU)..."

Yep! They talk about the iPhone again, right? Greenpeace scrutinized its earphone wiring plastic in a big-ass forensic analysis (as part of the CSI-Greenpeace soap) and found evidence of PhthaBS in it. So, hear this, dads of boys with developing testes : Don't buy your kids an iPhone (or, better said, do buy them one 'cos it's so fun, but throw those 'hazardous' earphones away... or risk having them boys turn into... sissies). And to kids mums: use the real thing... throw jelly look alikes away. Stay healthy, gals!

What can I say... I thought that analysis is crazy on its own merit; if you looked hard and long enough on any object, artificial or natural, you'll definitely come up with some substance -maybe in quantities of one or two molecules if you are real lucky- with hazardous effects of some sort, on humans or pets. I thought that was it... but little I knew! It took a millisec for some other moron group to go after Apple Inc. with a lawsuit threat based on Greenpeace's latest 'discovery'. It must be real cool to work for Apple's legal dept. these days, innit?

And so, a gazzilion tabloids for geeks waiting to cover such events, and scores of frigtard lawyers keeping busy with sucking blood, just keep on smiling...

Reminds me of the Q&A:

Q: What do you call 100 lawyers chained to 100 paparazzi's at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In the days of the Greek junta...


This clip takes some time to complete but you got to watch it to the end... it's in the last few minutes that it really becomes priceless.

The actor, Thanassis Vengos, is one of the classic Greek comedians in the second half of the 20th century. His comedy is reminiscent of the likes of Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton. Scarce dialogs but loads of body language. A tragic figure he was, but he made millions of Greeks LTAO.

The story is situated sometime in the period 1967-1974. The colonel junta regime was in power. Our guy is being towed in his miserable self-made car by a junk-trader in his truck. A few minutes down the road the truck stops, agents of the secret police pull-out the truck-driver and disappear. The truck is left alone and our guy, clueless, decides to continue driving the vehicle by himself. By the way, the truck carries a pair of huge loudspeakers on the outside that the junk-trader used to broadcast his merchandise in the small villages and towns he traveled to. Our guy, unaware of the external loudspeakers discovers a sound tape with revolutionary songs of Mikis Theodorakis that the junta had banned since day one (April 21st 1967). He decides to play the tape, while driving, and starts singing along with passion. In the meantime, the outside loudspeakers are glowing with loud sound, spreading the music in an area of many kilometers.

As this continues our guy approaches a village where authorities assembled the locals to preach to them about the 'great' deeds of the junta. Police is all over. A band plays military taptoe. Until our guy approaches with the truck. Before long his revolutionary songs cover the band's sound... the rest is history...

You don't need to understand Greek to enjoy this... in a week where many South Americans honored the loss 40 years ago of another revolutionary icon, this clip looks like an ode to all those oppressed by military regimes of the right OR the left, established by coward colonels and generals, who consider themselves capable of running countries, may they melt in hell!

Divine Bouzouki...


I don't know if you are able to feel the vibe inside your backbones at the sound of this clip. I mean, unless you are born... Greek. (I created the clip just to make you hear the music, so I put a few of my pics together and added the sound to create a YouTube clip... best possible way I am aware of to embed some music inside a blogpost).

As I was saying - I left Greece more than 30 years ago, I was still a kid- even without close links to friends and enemies back there, Greek music and the sound of bouzouki has been so deeply engraved in the millions of neurons of my unconscious that sounds like the one on the clip bring back emotions I didn't know I even had...

The bouzouki... the most revolutionary of all instruments... It's probably the high pitch primitive sound of its twin strings, full of energy and hope and rhythm... yeah the rhythm that made Zorba jump to his dance until he dropped.

Open Source sucks... (sort of)

I have been struggling with ambivalent feelings about Open Source for years. On one side I applaud the noble approach of millions of volunteers who are doing their best in a huge collaborative environment to develop working code and help the rest of us with free software that does (almost) the same as many commercial products of some of the big sharks in the industry (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, ...). On the other side, I have difficulty believing that, other than some basic software functionality, the OS community will never be able to produce the kind of robust software a project team working for money to pay the bills and support a family can do.

I came across this article that dots the i's and crosses the t's on the Open Source free merchandise. One paragraph I believe says the entire story:

"...this is yet another example of why open source will never fully replace paid for software. If you have a commercial product people can call up the vendor and scream at them to fix bugs. When I sold commercial software and someone called me needing something fixed or added I usually had it the same day. However in the open source world you have a lot of people who have a highly inflated sense of importance who think their software is the greatest thing that was ever written and it’s crap!..."

Something tells me this guy speaks from his heart and very much represents the thinking process of many IT directors in the Industry. Would you dare hang your heavy duty transactional systems that need to be online 24x7 on a freebie? Who do you call when things break down? Uncle Sam? I doubt it. Even if you bring me an IT director boasting about his mainstream systems reliance on Open Source, I'd have serious doubts about his capabilities and managerial skill. Anyways, exceptions justify the rules.

Use an iPhone during the flight? Better not...

...or else you risk getting arrested. The iPhone is not the only device that during a flight allows you to turn off emission of radio waves. I had that with a Sony Ericsson, I remember... and also, most PCs I know of will allow you to disable bluetooth and WiFi electromagnetic wave radiation. Not to interfere with the aircraft's navigation and other instruments so that you don't head for Prague instead of Nairobi where you initially boarded the aircraft for, so to say...

Read this story, for some Sunday laughs; here an appetizer bit:

"...I am an iPhone owner, and this is my story. I recently was traveling to Hawaii on ATA airlines and took my iPhone along for the trip. During the first 2 hours of my 5 hour flight I was listening to music using the ipod function of my iPhone. The iPhone was sitting on my tray table in front of my seat, in plain sight. Then I decided to watch a movie. So I fired up the classic "I know what you did last summer", a movie I had never seen before. About 1 and a half hours into this cinematic masterpiece I had a flight attendant try to get my attention.

I paused the movie just as Jennifer love Hewitt was screaming something about "please stop killing my friends" or "what do you want from me", honestly I am not sure what she was saying because I paused the movie and looked to see what the flight attendant wanted. He said something to the effect of "you can't use a cell phone in flight". OK, that makes sense, so I assured him that I had the phone in airplane mode and that all cell, wifi and bluetooth was off.

He again said "you have to stop using it" and walked on... Now I know something about flying and the rules, and I am pretty sure I can use the MP3 part of a cell phone if it is in airplane mode, above 10,000 feet. So, I continued to watch, needing to find out who the killer with the hook was and why they were messing with J Love.

About 10 minutes later, the same guy comes back and waves his hand in front of my face, I pause the movie again, and look over at him. He says that I am not allowed to use a cell phone in flight and I am breaking FAA rules. Again I tell him I have the phone in airplane mode, and would be more than happy to show that to him. He didn't want to see it and said I am breaking FAA rules...."

I can't help thinking that airlines need to start doing some IQ and EQ testing on flight attendant candidates. It will save them loads of embarrassment.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Drop the dead donkey

If you happen to have one of these Cybershot cameras you may find yourself one bright day, just right about when you are ready to depart for a weekend shooting session with your pals, facing at a nasty 'Turn the power off and on again' on the camera's viewer LCD back. And you also see your lens scarcely moving front and back and not being able to retract at the rest position. Obviously the mechanics of the lens do not seem to react to the software instructions; your lens is jammed.

My youngest son came home yesterday with this problem. I gave up trying to make it work, even pulling the lens while it was trying to retract and all sorts of stupid things you can imagine. I then went to the world's superbrains and Googled with 'Turn the power off and on again' in the search field. Piles of forums showed up with other complaining victims doing their stories. I picked the first forum in the list and started reading questions and answers. It was a lucky strike, turns out...Many were suggesting opening up the camera and fixing the jammed lens, others sending it to Sony Service (the last thing I'd do, really), and some suggested some other magic tricks. Whatever works for anyone... Opinions are like assholes... everybody has got one.

Anyways, a shy suggestion by a dude attracted my attention. They guy's solution was to... drop the camera! Yes Sir! Drop it! Not from the tenth floor of a building though... just a foot away from a soft floor, so that the box doesn't fall apart altogether. This would fix it...

Having no mood to try any other 'solution', for kicks I did the trick. I put a soft paper magazine on my table to absorb the shock a bit, and left the camera from a foot height fall on it...

Did this fix it? What a question?! Would you think I'd go thru the pain of posting about it if it didn't? Worked like a charm! Well done Sony! There is some merit after all to fixing old TVs by hitting them on the side! Especially if they were Sony Trinitrons!

Not everybody seems happy with Al's gig...

I've been watching the news, talkshows and the like over a number of European networks and on the Internet these last 24 hours. There's been quite some criticism about this year's Peace Nobel award; not that much about Gore himself... he's what he is; critics are not even politically colored... This moaning comes from scientists and people of some recognized value who have nothing to achieve or lose by critisizing either Gore or the award. They are simply not happy with the Academy's choice, for some valid reasons, it turns out.

There was a guy who said that this whole climate thing is a hoax... the price is huge to pay and reach a subminimal effect in, say, three generations from now. Some other guy hated the windmill parks providing alternative energy. Funny to say, he complained about windmill parks in Holland, that dude! Pinch me! Windmills in Holland? What are you talking about? Never heard of that before...

Another one also said that we seem to be breaking our ass about a few degrees higher temperatures and the melting of the ice in the North Pole, but in 5000 years from now there will be another Ice Age and what are we gonna do about this...bla...bla...bla... making the point that, what Gore and the rest of them climate evangelists are trying to do will have a tiny little effect only for just our great-grandchildren generation but it's gonna be probably useless in the broader scheme of things.

Someone also said that Gore had a unique opportunity to run for President and actually do what he preaches but he chooses to stay on the sideline and play the critic instead. One big achievement, my ass, he said. The guy who made this comment was a Dutchman on a talkshow in the Netherlands... he kinda looked like he suffered from chronic constipation.

I don't know what to think. I expected the media to react in a different manner. They didn't...So maybe, not all people like Gore or what he does...

On the contrary, my favorite company, Apple Inc, seems to honor big Al big time. For those of you who are not aware, Al Gore is sitting on the BOD of Apple Inc, along with the likes of Oracle's Larry Elisson and Google's Eric Schmidt. In Apple's home page iPods and iMacs have offered their honorable spot to a statement about Al's achievement next to his photograph (a part of which I screen captured for this post). El Jobso acts in class, as we are used of him, again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Streaming HDTV via IP is here to stay...


Playing from Blake Whitman on Vimeo.

If you wondered how long it would still take to watch HDTV full screen on your big-ass flat PC/Mac monitor, try this clip. Then click on 'Playing' to move to a site that does the same but in high def. When you are there make sure you have the HD button 'on'. Then, experience the same clip in quasi HD quality. Amazing, huh? So the answer to the question 'how long' above is: 'Not long!'. Sounds kinda Martin Luther King Jr, innit?

Crazy to think about but I reckon to some of us, live HDTV will come via IP faster than via our normal cable programming. That's what you get if you are stupid enough to live in Central Europe.

Run, Forrest, Run

So, Al is the latest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Many kudos will be sent to Mr. 'almost' President in the days and months to come; but I think FSJ's will go down as the sharpest of all.

Here's a taste of the passages I liked most...

"...Well, (Al) you have changed the world. Profoundly. You have raised awareness of the most pressing issue of our time. You have put the entire world on red alert. You have opened our eyes to the invisible danger that lurks all around us. And you know what? Along the way you have become a better campaigner than you ever were back in the day when you were actually running for office. You're like Obi-Wan Kenobi -- struck down, you have become more powerful than we could ever have imagined...

...Al, I say this as your friend, but also as an American: Run. Run, damn you. Dig us out of this hole we've fallen into. Larry and I and the rest of the Valley will give you all the money you need. Just run. Run..."

The M word...

Figure this. You are a high profile company. You got the best marketing brains in the universe. Each killer box you bring out stops every press on the planet and makes the front pages for months before and after launch day. Does this ring a bell? Sounds like Apple?

Fine...You bring out the iPhone. You got your own reasons to link the darn thing to an operator. ATT namely. Not the best choice ever, but that's ok. You tell your audience: 'Listen dudes, that's the way it is', you say, 'I don't hold a knife in your throat for that... if you want the goods you'll have to put up with them, ATT'...'Don't like it? No hassle! Go buy the Nokia N95 or a Berry of some sort, or even those lousy Windows Mobile crackpots'. Fine... it's a free market, everybody can bring out whatever he or she chooses and everyone is buying whatever he/her heart desires.

Right? Wrong!

It seems that in the US, high profile companies cannot just bring out their killer products in a configuration that some morons don't like. Before you know, you get those frigtards up your ass with class action suits. For, soit disant, monopoly practices. Read this report and tell me if the Yanks went bananas this time for good, or what?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ballmer is so cute...

Happened in Orlando, Fl, at the Gartner Inc Symposium ITxpo conference. Monkey boy decided to defend Vista for delivering value to customers. And he got the full charge to his face...

Read the whole article... it's a scream! Here some excerpts from it.

"I'm one of those early adopters of Vista," said Yvonne Genovese, an analyst who was interviewing Ballmer along with fellow analyst David Smith on stage at a conference forum. "My daughter comes in one day and says, 'Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets -- I need those.'"

Said Ballmer: "I love your daughter."

"You're not going to like her mom in about two minutes," said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

She went on to explain that she installed Vista for her daughter -- and two days later went right back to using the XP operating system. "It's safe, it works, all the hardware is fine, and everything is great," she said of XP..."

I got to tell you though; I am using Vista for some time on a Bootcamp iMac and it seems to work fine most of the time*. I guess Mac developers did their best in those drivers needed to make a Mac box useable for Vista. In all honesty, I don't get it. Too many seem to complain about Vista! Is this real or just viral anti-MSFT campaigning? Is MSFT turned into a company that everybody loves to hate, like we did with IBM 20 years ago? Who knows. I believe the problem lies in the fact that MSFT wanted to freshen up their windows GUI and make it look more like OSX. Big Mistake! Windows users are born tasteless creatures and wouldn't tell style even if it hit them in the face... Why bother for 7 years doing that? It's called 'incompetence' in my book... What else?

________________________________________________________________
*Not for the heavy stuff though - editing recently a 85 page document with Word 2007 on Vista Ultimate kept crashing on me more often that any geek would have liked; I had to go back to Mac OSX with Office for Mac 2004 to work safe.

Rescue the greenback...

I saw this comic drawing the other day on Wall Street Journal, European Edition. I thought it was quite funny and pretty clever, as the cartoonist combined his 'monetary' message with a lesson in Physics... the Archimedes Law of Leverage...

Just wanted to share this with you. The article was about the need for a Central Bank type of intervention to support the dollar, currently trading @ 1,42 to the Euro as we speak, from 80 dollarcents not that long ago. Apparently, the current US Administration doesn't seem to GAF about the greenback rolling downhill at mach level speeds...

European and Japanese Central Banks don't seem to bother much either, notwithstanding the current state of matters is beginning to hurt their national exporters, especially those quoting international sales transactions in US dollars. Turns out that France's Sarkozy was the first European leader complaining about the situation @ 1,36... and so many of his other peers suddenly woke up @ past 1,40. Nonetheless, big frog ego ECB President Trichet swears by the Bank's independence and does his thing one way or another.

I wonder for how long more will the Yanks continue to leave their currency in shambles. It's so sad, really!

"The Great Secret...

...that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in 70 or 80 years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all."

Doris Lessing (1919 -) Nobel Prize in Literature 2007

UPDATE Oct 12th: I didn't know a thing about the ol' granny until she got the 'N' prize yesterday. TV News crews were all over her all day long. I must say, the more I heard her talking to them the more I liked her. This is one great rebel, she is! When she first heard the news she reacted almost by going 'oh, shit'... she said 'Jeez' instead, but it was definitely 'oh, shit' she thought of. Trust me... It won't surprise me at all if she doesn't even show-up at the awards ceremony in December.

Keep it up granny! Pity we don't have more of you around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The iPod gets the 2007 Nobel Prize...

... of Physics, that is. Sort of. It's actually those two super-brains from France and Germany (Albert Fert -no kiddin'- and Peter Gr├╝nberg) who got it for discovering independently of each other in 1988 a phenomenon known as Giant Magnetoresistance (term coined by Fert). Apparently, this ingenious pur-sang discovery helped enormously in achieving extreme miniaturization in magnetic storage devices (Gigabyte stuff) and made MP3 players like the iPod a done deal. Here's to you Albert and Peter! Thank you for the iPod come true.

This magnetoresistance thing, once discovered, is a real simple thing to explain. I gotta tell you though, it's after reading the Nobel.org's editor-in-chief description of the phenomenon that I got a clue of what they were talking about. Most other reporters were talking Starwars gibberish trying to explain the thing, really telling me that they had no clue what they were talking about.

So, let me explain in a made for dummies fashion.

It seems that if you stack (sandwich) ultra thin metal sheets (iron and chrome, for instance, at nanometer levels of thinness) one upon another, then, applying a weak magnetic field in a certain direction causes the outer electrons of the sandwiched metal atoms adopt opposite spin; this seems to increase dramatically the electrical resistance, which electrons of an applied electrical current encounter. On the contrary, application of an opposite direction magnetic field makes those same outer metal electrons adopt same spin and this apparently decreases the electrical resistance to applied electrical currents dramatically too... In other words, weak variable magnetic fields are transformed into strong variable electrical currents.

If I got it right, it seems that some metal atoms are electron spin insensitive to magnetic field variations (same spin either way) where other metals are sensitive (spin changes with magnetic field). Of course if you knew that, then the rest is chicken shit... about how to get thin enough sandwiched slices of alternatively behaving metals (chrome and iron) stack upon another to observe some useful electric current behavior: transform weak magnetic fields to strong currents. I guess that's what they both did, Bert and Pete, bless their hearts!

Sounds kinda like transistor physics too... but there, it's some weak electrical (base) current deltas that get transformed (amplified) into strong electrical current deltas... and that phenomenon alone makes your modern electrical appliances, TVs, Sound systems, and PCs come true. When I was a kid studying the work done by electrons in transistors, in order to memorize the logic of their function, I compared the few (weak) base electrons triggering the passage of strong currents, to the handful of soldiers hidden in the Trojan Horse, who opened the gates to the scores of Greeks, who then entered and took over Troy. Kinda cute, eh? Call it parallel thinking...

Simple comme bonjour. I wish I had discovered this Giant Mag* thing... would become 1.5M€ heavier... But I guess, my brain is a lot smaller than theirs. I'm still glad I can turn on my PC and recover from a blue screen of death, courtesy of Microsoft.

Anyways, I don't know whether it's Albert and Peter who got the prize or Steve Jobs... Imagine a world without iPods. Would these dudes be on the Alfred Nobel Prize Award Committee list? I mean, they discovered the darn thing 20 years ago, didn't they? Why did it take those Alzheimer suffering committee members that long to recognize the dudes' merits? Is it because the Swedes loved much the latest iTouch iPod? And as they couldn't afford to award the prize to His Jobness, they decided to honour the two magneto-nerds for their discovery. Cool!

It's about time they did more of that... they should also define a Nobel prize for the best, paradigm shift sort of thing, discovery on the Internet... like Tim Berners-Lee, or the dudes of TCP/IP (Kahn and ...forgot the other one), or the kids from Skype and Larry Page from Google. The thing is, most of these Info-Age kids, with some exceptions, are gazillion dollars rich, and they ain't need the 'dough', so the Committee could justify a smaller cut, like, say, a daphne crown as for winner athletes of the Ancient Olympic Games... innit?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Innovation

Someone quite important in Corporate America that I happened to meet and talk to a few times, once told me: "The difference between Research and Innovation is that in Research, you use money to make new ideas, whereas in Innovation you use new ideas to make money... not many people really know that distinction and they think of research and innovation being synonymous!"

What a brilliant insight! Why do I bother, you might ask. Well, I was recently involved in a proposal applying for EU funding where we had to keep the quote above in our mind at all times. It's because what we need to do in Europe is not just new fresh ideas... we need to turn them into money before we subside to the Far East. One of the European initiatives to counter that threat is known as Manufuture. A close friend is one of the early Godfathers of this initiative. He spoke to me with such passion about their intent that, combined with my techie geekness, made me start thinking about the subject much deeper than I ever wished for.

In Maria Bartiromo's CNBC program about Innovation, there was a guy, Roger Schank, of Socratic Arts, who considers himself an Innovation Guru. Maybe he is... I wouldn't know. The thing is, he said something very clever... "Harvard top graduates make great recruits... for Harvard", or, "if you have to hire a Harvard graduate in your business, then go for the bottom 10%... because these kids were smart enough to get admitted but they wouldn't compromise with the rules that Harvard teachers want to talk them to". Made me think of the Wall:"...We don't need no education, We don't need no thought control, No dark sarcasm in the classroom, Teachers leave the kids alone, Hey teacher leave us kids alone, All in all it's just another brick in the wall, All in all you're just another brick in the wall... " And they were just a rock-group. But how prophetic!

It's the good ol' slogan seen in Apple ads. "Think Different". How much teaching do we need to change the world? Not much is needed to be innovative, turns out... at least if you believe the experts. Education kills creativity? Is it because it puts you in a box? Not so sure... but, who knows? You get nowhere without proper education, unless you are born Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Maria Callas, Bob Dylan... So the problem might not be in Education itself but in the methods used to educate and populate our youth's tabula rasa's. Maybe Socratic Arts is trying to do something about it. Pay them a visit... you might find their ideas interesting.

Prost to Joost!

I never believed they'd be able to create anything useful with this project. On the other hand, the Skype kids already had proven their capabilities to cause a serious paradigm shift with their first endeavor and break the mould with millions of Skype online users at any given moment.

I was one of their early Joost beta testers when they used a different name (Project Venice?) but in those days and until recently their code was in shambles. Kept hanging my OS (either Windows or Mac) and their content programming was... well, eh... Television (of some sort) of the kind you wouldn't spend too much time watching it... Picture quality on my broadband connection (2 MB a sec download speed under sufficient put-through on the source side) wasn't too great either.

Anyways, because already so many tried IPTV before and it all managed to look like MI3, and having seen their first Joost versions, I kept watching developments from the sideline, not looking too convinced, really, about the prospects.

Until their last version. Click and download the beta for yourselves. Many things seem to have changed, in the meantime:
  1. It doesn't often hang and seems to react to clicking the buttons just fine (amazing, eh?)
  2. Their programming of content seems a lot better (huge number of choices ranked in many different ways)
  3. Quality of the picture seems at times stunning (very similar to SD TV). The picture in this post comes from a CNBC program on Innovation hosted by Maria B.
So maybe they cracked it... or about to. Interesting stuff. Get ready to invest if they are thinking to go IPO.

Holy cripes!

Listen to this... not only Apple stock jumped 6.5 bucks yesterday but they also overtook in market cap Nokia and HP, and are more than twice the size of Dell (where's the time Michael was boasting that the best thing one could do with Apple was sell it and return the money to the investors?), and Motorola; they are closing-in on Intel and approaching pretty fast mighty IBM, Google and Cisco (remember? Cisco was one of four companies ever breaking the threshold of 500B USD market cap; the other three being Microsoft, Intel, and GE). Even today, some of these dudes have got revenues three times as much as Apple but Apple still manages to make an impact on the marketplace with its products never witnessed before (other than Bill Gates in the nineties with Windows 95); articles are already discussing the upcoming Leopard, the mighty cat that will appear in stores this October, with more than 300 innovative enhancements. I can't wait...

Two words: A-mazing!

Monday, October 8, 2007

17 November 1973

I met accidentally quite a remarkable person today. This was an encounter that makes you feel that the planet is so small and we are all brothers and sisters together.

Here's the story...

During the couple of weeks that preceded November 17th, 1973, Greek students led by a small team of courageous leaders, operating a low power radio station out of central Athens, representing the Athens Polytechnic School (of Engineers - Metsovion Polytechnic), have been heavily protesting the lack of civil freedoms, and demanded overthrowing of the colonel junta that kept the country under siege since April 21st, 1967. Scores of students barricaded themselves inside the Polytechnic while crowds assembled around the gates of the School at Patission street. The belief was that junta backed 'security forces' would not dare enter the campus (campus or church were very much the same in the spirit and belief of the Greeks). Little they knew...

During the night of November 17th, the CIA backed colonels brought in the tanks and entered the campus using their heavy armor; quite a few victims died in action then... young kids, driven by passion and undertaking heroic acts that their parents and other adults only wished for but never dared. “Youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism.” (Paul Claudel)

The man I met today remembers that night like it happened yesterday. He is not a Greek himself and he was three thousand km away from the scene of action when it all happened. He was a student at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Leuven in Belgium (the oldest and greatest in the country to this day). He was also the vice president of the student union, with responsibility about their social and political activities. He told me he heard the news that same night it happened at Europe 1, a popular radio station at the time. It was late at night when it was reported; in a heartbeat he jumps on the phone and calls the rest of his Presidium members. Long story short, the lot meets within an hour and they start printing pamphlets and Greek flags. He smiled at the reminiscence of that first hour as they had no clue what a Greek flag looked like and had to wake-up a Greek student, after speculating all sorts of things about flag shapes and colors (the Google boys were not even born by then). They stayed up all night preparing next day's actions. Next morning, early on, someone from the lot was sent to serve a sort of Russian cocktail to the Greek Consulate (I think it was Molotov's recipe they used) and later the same day they appear with other demonstrators at the Greek Embassy in Brussels, protesting about the tragic incidents. Within 24 hours they managed to mobilize the remaining student communities in the country and next thing happening, a national student protest strike takes place. Radio news and TV covered their actions and even reps from neighboring countries contacted them for organizing something much larger. "We started the movement for the fall of the junta" he boasts to me proudly!

I felt emotional shivering thru my entire body. The man, in his fifties, was overtaken by the passion and flame of 35 years ago. His eyes shining... "I just couldn't take the thing was happening at our backdoor, especially in a country that gave us the miracle of democracy", he tells me. "Did you ever visit the place afterwards?" I asked... "Did you ever see the Metsovion gate after the tanks ran over it?". "No" he said, his look expressing a form of nostalgia and a desire to just go and do that. Then with a bright smile, he says. "Maybe I've got to do just that... re-assemble all the members of my Presidium and organize a venue to the holy site. It would be the 35th anniversary next year... a good time to go and visit them", he says... "Could you help me do that? It would be nice to meet the heroes that we were fighting for in those days".

I felt a mission in life to respond to that with all I could. I am appealing to the folks of my generation who were part of those events and lived them from a close distance... If you have any ideas, please help me out. We need to help these romantics, Byron fighters, to come and visit the action fields of Nov 17th. We definitely need to do that, out of respect for what they did and to show our appreciation to them and our traditional philoxenia (love for strangers who visit us).

Unlocking the phone...

Go check this folks... I'm still LMAO!

It's all about Apple's discontent when users (and own employees it turns out) unlock their phones to use third party software and SIM cards.

Let's hope Apple don't turn into a Microsoft style Evil Empire...

El Jobso, pay attention...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Autumn in Oudenaarde...

The last few days have been cold but with clear skies that we haven't seen in a long time. I shot some early fall shots yesterday and published them on my public dot mac gallery. Go have a look...

For those of you interested about how to process digital imagery, I gotta tell ye! These shots have been processed by DxO Optics Pro 4.5...

If you got no clue what this is all about, go have a look at the DxO web site. For kicks, I got to tell you alone that for the popular and high-end DSLRs and lenses they have a DB of aberrations known to be present (geometry, color, etc) when a certain camera lens combination is used. And then, they correct it digitally in a way that takes care of this. They also simulate colors your shots would have if they were shot by analog gear on some well known negative or dia-positive films, color or B/W.

The difference I seen was subtle but it was there... especially, when you print them shots on paper. BTW, they are about to bring out version 5 with new camera models added (for instance, Canon's 40D, just out).

Watch the demo clips on their site to see what I mean...

Playing God...

It was about time someone came up with this during our lifetime. I wonder whether it will just stop there or we are about to witness the birth of new religions as well... of people worshipping those human life creating Semi-Gods... probably their own creatures would (at least if they eventually turn out to display some form of intelligence).

Read this article for more... here's a taste of what they do:

'Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.

The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.

Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before"...'

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Feel me...touch me...

I wouldn't be me if I didn't rush to get the iTouch as one of the early geeks standing in line... in my age though I prefer the online Apple Store than queueing in the rain like a moron. The marvel arrived earlier than I thought, something around Sep 28th, at my doorstep, TNT delivery as always.

I'm not gonna go thru another Holy Bible preaching about the virtues of this manufacturing miracle as there have been millions before me praising the goods of the iPhone; and the iTouch iPod is just the same as the iPhone without the phone part. Nonetheless, it's a hugely wonderful piece that does all the rest!

Only drawback I had was on day 1, when it just arrived... I got it working in a heartbeat and as I moved down from the attic (my office space) to boast to the wife, the darn think gave up its spirit. Nothing moved... pressing down buttons didn't help a bit. Anyways, cursing my bad luck (these things allways happen to me... there must be bad spirits haunting me, I guess) I go online and order a service package from Apple to ship back the damaged goods. Darn Chinese! I keep thinking - yep, all these goodies are manufactured in bleedin' China, damn you Jobso... Having nothing else better to do, I link it back to my Macbook. ... and, praise the Lord, out of no-where the little bitch came back. All started working per specs and even better... and never failed ever since. In the meantime, UPS delivered a packing box sent by Apple's return service; I keep the box somewhere in a corner... I might need it someday, who knows.

With this unpleasant surprise behind me, I went on to enjoy it for good. Wunderbar! I can't believe those folks complaining about the keyboard... these dudes must have real fat fingers or somethin'. The design is impeccable, the touch and feel is beyond belief. I actually bought the thing as a present to one of my kids but, the hell with it! I kept it to myself.

The interface of these pieces, iPhone and iPod-iTouch must be the best Apple ever did. They are really phenomenal. They say there is a sensor that senses the acceleration when you turn it from portrait to landscape and repositions the contents. I tried to fool the sensor by turning it real slow. I mean, real real slow to the point I felt my fingers sleepin'. No way to fool it though. There is a point where it senses the re-orientation and jumps to its new position. Real great engineering. Well done John Ive!

One of the fun parts is the online purchase of iTunes songs. We were just watching a film on TV the other night with Rita (I think it was Allen's Mighty Aphrodite) and they played the song 'Call me a river'. 'Who's singing this?' Rita goes... 'Hold on a sec', I says... Within seconds the iTouch was showing about 100 different versions of the song with 30 secs sampling each... I pass the earphones to her and she starts flipping from one version to another. 'That's the one I like', she goes...'Press the buy button', I says... she does and the song starts downloading over the air through my 11n router. A few secs later, it was playing through my Bose speakers... who can beat that!

Of course there are some weaknesses in these things and I am not gonna start whining like Alan Clayton (a CFO of mine long ago whose whining was a mission in life). I praise the Lord instead who had me brought to life in the age of His Jobness.

And for anyone who has one of the latest iMacs, something to know... the iTouch will not connect to the Mac under OSX (!!??). It will connect to it though under a Bootcamp Vista or XP partition... curious, eh? Is that not a noble sample of true courtesy by Apple to the Redmond Cyborgs?