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Viewing posts from December, 2005

New Year's Eve. No party to go to. Lots ...

New Year's Eve. No party to go to. Lots of time to spend reading up on my mailbox and working towards 1.0 release of sbackup.

However I will stop for a moment for a meme from my friend, Yume

The idea is to put all of your music collection into a player, put it on shuffle, ask a question and press next. "Me" is myself, "PL" is the player with my interpretation of results on the next line.

Me: What do I think about myself?
PL: Aqualung - Strange and beautiful
I like that, nice start! :)

Me: What do my friends think about me?
PL: Rammstein - Moskau
Old, yet new. Known, yet strange. Open, yet with lots more to explore. Money uber ales.

Me: What does my family think of me?
PL: Weezer - Buddy Holly
"...I don't care what they say about us anyway..." :)

Me: How will the next year be for me?
PL: Gloria Estefan - Turn the beat around
dynamic and revolutionary?

Me: Hmm, nothing comes to mind ...
PL: Madonna - Secret
"...Happiness lies in your own hands..." or "..my baby's got a secret.." ?

Me: Will this year be more romantic then the last?
PL: Jackson Browne - Sky Blue and Black
??? strange love song about the edge between lovers and friends

Me: Do I have a bright future?
PL: Roxette - Dangerous
lol. "Hold on tight...", "...You pack your bag, you take control..." sounds nice even if "a little bit dangerous" :)

Me: Will I become a President (or at least a MEP)?
PL: Celine Dion - If you asked me to
so it is possible, if I want it to and ask for it

Me: Will I get my Master's degree?
PL: Shiro Sagisu - Destiny avaits (From "Bleach" OST)
Good, so that is my destiny :)

Me: When will I buy myself an apartment or a house?
PL: Dream Academy - Life in a Northern Town
Not positive - "all the work shut down" and mentions of the Salvation Army and "they sat on the stoney ground", but "everyone else came down". On the other hand, living outside Riga in some more northern towns is much cheaper, so that's an option.

Me: What about renting, I hear that is more reasonable now, ne?
PL: Anastacia - Pretty Little Dum Dum
"illusion and deceit" mostly about self illusion, sounds like you want to say that I myself will not be satisfied with a rented place.

Me: Ok, that brings another question - if I start a company, will it be successful enough for me to buy/build a house without taking a mortage?
PL: Diana King - Shy Guy
song says that shy guys are sexy, is that a potential marketing pitch :$
Me: I didn't quite get it, could you a bit more clear about that?
PL: Anastacia - Time
"one day at a time", "timing is everything". now that is better.

Me: Now, should I really publish this blog post?
PL: Avril Lavigne - Not the only one
If you do it, do it now.

So I will.

It just came to me that if we accept the...

It just came to me that if we accept the definition of "industry" (from the text of the software patent directive that EP had in first reading where it it was said) that industry basically is mass production of material goods, then there is no need for neither software industry not movie industry nor music industry - the production and distribution of copies is very efficiently achieved via the Internet. These industries are no longer needed by the society - they have no reason to exist.
Some might object - but where will the first copy come from? Well, that is not product of an industry, but a product of an artist. If originally said industries were created merely to copy and distribute works, now they are morphed into structures "supporting" artists. That is a clutch, that is not needed. There are other ways for artists to make a living off their art. Fanart and free software movement clearly shows that. Patents and copyright are just clutches for the falling industries. The clutches must go and giants must fall for progress towards knowledge society.
I would be glad if we could have professional musicians getting a minimal wage from the government. If your art has been downloaded by 10 000 people last year, you can get government pro-artist payroll. If you want more then minimal wage - do tours, sing in clubs, do advertisements, work in more then one art or get another job. I would be very glad to pay a tax for that if I could have free and unrestricted (copyright-free) access to all art of all artists. Call it art tax, device a maximum number of pro-artists the country can support via the tax, make qualification competitions, whatever. There is art without copyright. It is just not that expensive.
However, while the society will allow industries to suck their money, it will be very hard to change the situation as the very same money will be used to prove that said industries are worth supporting.
There are two ways: kick the crutches out (abolish patents and copyrights) or just move forward and ignore them and their crutches as we step through them towards freedom (develop free software, free media, free ... movements). Of course we can do the second until the first becomes viable.

In that context it is nice to see some funny lawmaking in France (a law project for "copy all you want for 5€/month") or WIPO saying that copyright is not really a right and it is quite a shame that word "right" is part of "copyright". Even reading about each new patent horror of USA court system becomes fun, because them worse it gets, the closer is the end. (Same with Bush :P)

Learning TurboGears now. True MVC separa...

Learning TurboGears now. True MVC separation. Nice and powerful. Templates are valid XHTML documents (and not a mess of gibberish). Not much magic. I hate magic. Especially when it fails. I look forward to writing a task tracking system for a very special project in this framework. More about the project when it is launched. You're gonna love it ;)

Also I am going to visit my family - they still have no Internet, so I'll be mostly offline 'till the New Year (except for this and this). So I wish you all a Merry Christmas (note: there is absolutely nothing christian about Christmas - it existed like 2000 years before that character from Bible is born according to that book and in Latvian this day is called "Ziemassvētki" - "ziema" = winter, "svētki" = celebration) and a Happy New Year (if you are really an orthodox christian, why do you count years the new, non-christian way? you should be celebrating New Year on 13th of January like Christ did and the Orthodox church still does, because it uses Julian Calendar more then 420 years after it has been denounced)!

Oh, the fun of touting religious people ... of any religion ... :D Have fun everybody!

Footnote: in October I noted that there have been 11000 spam mails in my GMail spam box at that point (it stores only spam that has arrived in last 30 days). Today I am pleased to say that I can only see 4300 spam mails there today. It could be that GMail has implemented some procedures so that some spam does not even reach that folder, but I shall be very optimistic and say that amount of spam has declined! Maybe spammers are on holidays? If so, I wish they stay there :D

Ben from Eye


Ben from Eye
It is misty today in Riga this reminded me of the second oldest photo that I've taken and that is still on my harddrive. A photo taken by a simple dispensable camera, but still so nice :)

Christmas is coming and the longest nigh...

NightShot Fire Fire ghost

Christmas is coming and the longest nights of the year are here (in the Northern hemisphere that is). At this time of year I always want to remember about something nice and warm. This time it is the Jāņi/Līgo - Latvian national festivity dedicated to the shortest night of the year. Everyone is celebrating that - people lite fires before sunset and tries to keep the flame going until dawn thus bridging the two days together. Lots of beer, cheese and campfire grilled meat of all sorts is the order of the day. That's traditional. Also very traditional is the rain - there always is at least a bit of rain during the Līgo.
Anyway - these two photos of that midsummer night warmed up my midwinter night.

Free vs. open presentation and comparison by Lawrence Lessig

Soviet blocks

Today I was doing the free vs. open presentation and comparison by Lawrence Lessig came up, that having computers governing your live in cyberspace without access to the rules along which you are being governed (essentially the source code) is like living in a society where some or most laws are secret any only know to the law enforcement agencies. Like it was sometimes the case in USSR. So photo for today's photoblog entry comes from last day of 2003 that I spent in the city of Liepaja. It was a semi-military port town in the USSR times, but today it is a city of peaceful engineers and tinkerers with nice beaches and a very distinct and proud stance for the future. A free future.

Preparing a presentation for tomorrow

RMS in Riga

I spent day preparing a presentation for tomorrow's "Open Christmas" celebration in Latvian University. One of my topics is "Free vs. Open: philosophy vs. presentation" about the various terms floating around the FLOSS movement: free, open, libre, shared, ... (and also their various translations to Latvian :P). This reminded me of the day I organised an event in Riga for the RMS's Baltic Anti Software Patent rally in 2004.

Another idea came to me in shower - I've...

Another idea came to me in shower - I've been reading up about MS Office 12 UI changes and I think there are some very nice ideas there, but we can do better.
The main principle of the Ribbon is that all functions are there, but some are smaller then others based on their priority.
It came to me that when you design an UI in, for example, Glade you are basically creating a dynamic structure that can scale up or down. The only two things missing to make it a Ribbonesque interface are: 1. unique priority for each widget to decide which widgets to reduce/increase in size, 2. multiple size versions for each widget - buttons from 128x128px to 16x16px, ...
For situations when 16x16px is not enough for the widget (editbox, for example) one could make a micro button that brings up the rest of the widget as a popover when pressed or simply not show the widget. Less important widgets would simply not be displayed at smaller screen/window sizes (hidden behind a generic "+" icon meaning more functions in a category).
This would allow an application to use those huge screens of the future for bigger and more detailed buttons/widgets and at the same time would increase usability of applications at small screen sizes. Or maybe I am just thinking too far.

Here is a quick idea for you - Free Soft...

Here is a quick idea for you - Free Software tax.
Imagine a voluntary 1% tax that is collected by a non-profit US foundation from the people that signed up for the program. Imagine that amount exempt from the usual taxation. Imagine that money channelled to Eastern Europe or Russia or India or China or anywhere else where the cost of living is low and a lot of smart people live. Imagine then that students are hired for 4-10$/hour to work on free software tasks that are voted on by the "taxpayers".
So, anyone up to implement that? If you do, please contact me for coordination :)

Update: A USA foundation to get the money from USA, similar organisations in other countries would be needed to gather donations from that countries (in order for that money to be tax deducible). Of course students or other people from USA or Germany or UK or whatever would also be able to participate in getting the money, but the catch is - while 4$/hour in USA is half of the McDonalds pay, it is 4 times more then McDonalds pay their workers in Latvia. Quality control by feedback: after completion of a task - a mentor of the task leaves feedback in the profile of the worker.

We all know how over time our input devi...

We all know how over time our input devices get contaminated by particles from objects that tend to reside in our hands in between acts of data input. Basically I am speaking about those bread crumbles in the keyboard and that slightly sticky stuff that covers the buttons of a mouse after a few months of everyday usage. Today it got too much for me and I gave my mouse a bath - disassembled it and washed all non-electronic components with liquid hand soap. After a couple of minutes and drying with a paper towel, all the parts looked dry enough for a reassembly. The patient lived on, giving a much more pleasant tactile feedback to its user (me).

P.S. It looks like I botched the clicking feel that a wheel of a mouse makes when scrolled. I've heard that it is actually better so, let's try to find out by trying.

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