My motto

If you sleeping is disturbing your job performance, then ... screw that job!

To be trully productive my work must not be tied to specific time-slice. Sometimes I am most productive 9-17, sometimes 16-24, sometimes 0-8.

On the other hand today I started to try to rise early following Steve Pavlina. Yay to me! Let's hope I can keep rising at 5 in the morning for at least a week, so I can truly evaluate the result.

FFII Week blog - Day 6

Saturday. Today I resent minutes of a Council working group to FFII lists along with some strange Rocard 'compromise' amendmets for articles 1 and 2 only. This proved to be a crusial piece of information for strategy planning of EP. LV did some strange moves there and HU, NL and DE were clearly violating orders of their parlaments.
On Monday morning I'll need to meet Zile and convince him to help us and then I will be at the meating deciding LV position in the Council.
Today I mostly did 'technical' things, like installing Ubuntu on a new laptop donated to FFII and fighting to get HP LaserJet 1020 working there and then sharing it to other computers in the network.
A lot of time was also spent discussing potential strategies for second reading in EP and about organization of the post-2nd-reading conference.
Many people say that one does never beat me in a discussion, some also say that one cann't beat Jan Miernik in a discussion. I can now proudly say that I can beat Jan quite easily ;).
In the evening we went to a kebab place and had a very fun dinner there. If you are hungry in Brussels - find a kebab place, it will be the cheapest way. Unfortunally I do not remember the name of the dish I took, but it was something like meat, corn, onion and salad wrapped in a tortilia and some french fries with a very strong sause ('kamikadze'). This with a soft drink cost 4 Euro, which is a very cheap meal in Brussels.
It took a full hour to write these last 3 blog items, should go to sleep now to be able to wake up for tomorrows plane home.

FFII Week blog - Day 5

Friday was a quiet day - everyone had a bit of hangover from yesterday (not me - I only tasted the wine and didn't really drink it) and I woke up quite late.
I spend the whole day at the FFII apartment trying to do as much good as possible. At the end of the day, the best idea came late at night after a pizza dinner - we decided to organize the biggest FFII event ever, right after the EP vote. It would be at 12 and 13 july. That will be a two day conference where first day whould be focused on understanding the results of the EP second reading vote and what it means both to software producers and what it means to the democracy in EU, second day will be devoted to figuring out what FFII would need do next. A social event could be put up at the evening of first day. MEPs and EU Council people would be invited to the first day, lots of press and FFII supporters.
Antonios from Greese voulunteerd to organize it and I agreed to be the 'shadow organizer'.
This discovery arrived to us at 1 in the night and that made me arrive to the hotel around 2 at the night, again.

FFII Week blog - Day 4

As allways in such events I started to forget to write blog items after three days. It is Saturday evening now and I am trying to reconstrukt events from last 3 days.

In the morning of thursday two EP groups held public meeting dedicated to SWPat directive - EPP and Greens. The meetings were separate and both were not really well for us. The most disappointing was a weak performance of Kauppi. She has very nice amendments, but she doesn't seem to be confident enough to push for them. She should stand behind all her amendment and not let council or EICTA confuse her.
In the I went looking for a peaceful side of Brussels. With one of the girls, we we to see the famouse Atomicum, but it was under construction, so we just walked a few parks that are nearby. I never remember names of people, but I do rememner that she was an antropologist collecting information for her Ph.D. about free software movement. We actually found that Brussels parks are really great - big and peasefull. We accidentally strolled upon the residence of previouse king of Belgium. We also witnesed a part of park fenced off that had a lot of rabbits running around.
In the evening I was invited to a diner at a place of Kasha - assistant of a Polish MEP. The night was just great - we had pasta with some strange sauce and wine - 6 bottles for 5 people ;). We all were discussing all the things starting with patents then swiching to jokes about Chinese and then back to talks about 'patents as such'. At 3 in the night all but me and Erik falled asleep and we decided to wrap up.
I walked trough the night Brussels. I must say that suburbs of Brussels are much quieter at 3 in the night then Rigas suburbs are - first ten minutes of walking towards city center I did not see a single person or car, not even at a distance. The centre is also quiet, but not much quieter then Riga. I took a few nice pictures.

FFII Week blog - Day 3

Today I did get the breakfast - yay! I did hovewer get late to the first panel and only got the end of it. I got a few nice pictures and heard a great reaction from the chair - one person tried to make a statement that the pure software "like the Amazon one-click" is not patentable now and will not be patendable under Councils directive - the chair replied "It is an already granted Europeant patent number xxxxxxx, next question" ;) The applause went for a few minutes.
After a nice diner we went to the second panel chaired by Mr. Dombrovskis.
It started a bit late with a bit of technical problems, as they always do. I think that Dombrovskis handled it very well with a nice intro and some kind of 15 second summaries that did help to better understand the presentations -- they really were quite complex.
The third panel started with a representative from a Polish IT association. He spoke very strictly against SWPat, but very broadly. Representative from BEUC - consumer assosiation of EU. One point raised was that, while software must be excluded from the protection, the source must still be published in the patent if it is essential to the invention. EICTA person said to support Council position, but against SWPat. Said that patents are needed to defend against foreign companies (despite 90% of EU SWPat are owned by USA and Japan). Kauppi (shadow reporter of the directive, antiswpat) was a bit bleak on the last panel and dropped a bomb saying that excluding of data processing from patentability is too broad and undefendable. That is bad news.

FFII Week blog - Day 2

Today I missed the breakfast and thus had no chance of doing much for the rest of the day ;)
I was contacted by Elina - assistant of Valdis Dombrovskis (a MEP from Latvia) to schedule a meeting. We agreed on a time and I spend rest of the day familiarising with the plan for the conference. Then I arrived to the meeting a bit earlier and Elina helped me to make a 5 day pass to EP.
Dombrovskis was very helpfull, he agreed to chair a panel at our coference and we discussed what he would say in his keynote speech. After that I managed to get a few nice pictures and a room in the Dragon hotel 'till the rest of the week - yay!
The rest of the day was spend in the FFII appatment doing some work with my email and helping others - Antonio, Jan and several others were there.
Got into bed late - damn, I'll need to get up at 7 for the conference tomorrow.
BTW: Palm Tungsten rules :)

FFII week blog - Day 1

This post and several next posts are summaries of the week that I spent in Brussels helping FFII to fight against software patents. I wrote the blog items in my new, shiny Palm Tungsten and then HotSynced and copy-pasted to the blog.

Morning: it is easier for me to not sleep trough the night then to wake up at 5 - so I did. Almost missed the plane - a lot of people fly on monday mornings. Flight was nice - I slept most of it ;). Surprise on arrival - rain.
Got to FFII office, surprises go on - no one there and no computers either, I was lucky that EPP people were there and let me in. Waiting, writing this blog (on a Palm) and playing GO (on the same Palm), loosing - I still suck at GO.
Someone came and suggested that others are at the flat and that I call Erik for work. So I did. Eric made me contact Dombrovskis' assistant to get answer to one mail and to ask for help with extra EP passes on Wed. Called - noone there, must be lunchtime. Will try latter.
After a terible and expensive lunch (12 EUR for a sandwich and cofe!) I called the assistant of Dombrovskis again. I needed to ask her to answer back to Jonas email, but they didn't recieve it yet. I'll need to find out about it and get back myself, but I convinced the assistant to help us with EP passes (getting poeple inside the EP building) if needed.
After much search, I found the hotel that I was staying today Maison du Dragon - next two days I'll be at Vogh hostel, but I convinced Holger to put me back into the Dragon for other nights here.
I was too tired today so I went to bed early to be better tomorrow.

Mezzo bashing

Symphony Operating System

It is becoming popular today to have a whack at Mezzo. We all are busy, so let's head straight to the case:
* It is quite unclear how the 'corner targets' should work and how the workspace should actually be layered.
I suggest such scheme:
- bottom layer would be similar to the Workspace soncept, but: desklets should definately be resizable, positionable and manageable (preferably from one menu/application for all desklets, so I can easily kill a desklet that I accidentaly 'lost' somewhere or add a desklet to the desktop from a list of all desklets). Some desklets could acctually be portals to some on-disk folders thus easing the transition for people that do want to store something on the desktop. Also the managerie fits into this layer (customisable position and size, please)
- above that a layer of application windows would be.
- above the application would be layers that would emerge from the corner target buttons when pressed. I would suggest using a close-to-realworld experience and make these buttons like drawers - much like the Dasher. That is, when any of these buttons is pressed, a separate workspace layer comes over covering all aplications. The corner target button is pressed and if you click it again it will depress removing the layer. Some controls on the layer expand when pressed ('Find' on the documents layer can simply produce a text input box underneath it when pressed) or change the layer. Others launch an application (documents, programms). When that happends we 'fall back' into application layer and the target layer disapears (imagine animation of a document icon falling down and unfolding into the application window).
* within this concept trash target has no sence and should be replaced by a 'Desktop target' and a 'Trashcan' entery in the Computer target
* You will not be able to get away from categories in "Settings" and "Tasks" areas, especially without creating too much of interface clutter, but you can optimise these categories to make them expandable right inside the Computer layer and maybe even make some settings adjustable directly form the layer - imagine a volume control bar embeded into the computer layer. Same with 'Other programms'
* One must be very carefull not to obsure any usable content by the target buttons in any application window, when it's maximized (most people always have their main application in a maximized window)
* That also brings up a point of task switching when one window is maximised - that is a normal situation, how does one switch windows in such scenario?
* What is the purpose of "Close" buttons on each target layer?
* Going back to application windows - what is the motivation to move 'Minimize' and 'Maximize' buttons to the left side?
* I oftern find it useful to be able to close an inactive aplication with one click on its 'Close' buton instead of two clicks or four mose movements (navigate mouse to the window, one click to activate it, navigate mouse to 'Close' button, click it)
* Without side and bottom border, window title on the top is huge and does not fit anymore
* Window handles ticking out of the active window look ugly and do not have any functional meaning untill the window is to be resized. How about showing them only when mouse cursor is close to one corner?
Well, I think I am mostly done :)
It is of course interesting to see new design concepts and I hope it evolves into something both usable and valuable.

Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Open source and the commoditization of software

Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Open source and the commoditization of software

Ian starts with a history of commodisation in computer industry and continues about how dangerouse is the tactic employed by RedHat (to redefine 'Linux' as a platform). In the end Ian describes the business model that is used at Progeny.

I must agree with Ian that usig the commodisation rather then fighting it is the best strategy in the long term, but the problem is in the short term - gaining the start-up advantage. Starting a business is a high risk in itself and starting it without a specific advantage is upping the risk above what venture capitalists would allow. In other words the question is - after you've spend your start-up funds and gained some customers, what will stop the previose encumberant of just repeating your business model, just using his resourses.

That kind brings me back to writing my master thesis about open and transitional software development business models. At least, now that I've taken an academic brake, I hace the time to consider it.