Tuesday, July 31, 2007

People Don't Like Me

I got a link from Mr. XML himself, Tim Bray, on his blog, adding "you couldn't make this stuff up". Well Tim, I'm very honored and very impressed by that thoughtful comment.

Other people chip in too, for all responses check the comments here. Very few say nice things, probably because it's too much against the XML wave. The wave that people haven't dared to go against for 10 years now.

There's even a supposedly Japanese guy called Matz that talks about this in Japanese. Is this the matz guy that invented Ruby?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"$100" Laptop Porn Browsing

The project that used to be called the $100 laptop, which costs about $250 now I think, has launched and children in third-world countries are really enjoying these things.

From Reuters:

ABUJA, July 19 (Reuters Life!) - Nigerian schoolchildren who received laptops from a U.S. aid organisation have used them to explore pornographic sites on the Internet, the official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported on Thursday.

NAN said its reporter had seen pornographic images stored on several of the children's laptops.

"Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials," NAN said.


olpc-porn.jpg

Great project. Now I start to understand how they can make those laptops so cheap.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

10 Years of XML: Global Warming

XML is almost 10 years old. 10 years, that is a long time. When it just came out, I thought it would be gone within a few months, but it wasn't. XML became popular because companies had to interact. Who has been making companies interact since the 70s, 80s, 90s? Programmers. And programmers are what? Lazy.

XML is the lazy person solution. It's easy, takes little time, but it's inefficient. I grew up with the idea that it is better to put a bit more effort into something at the beginning so that you would safe a lot of cost later. XML is the perfect example of something that does exactly the opposite. XML is simple. It's simple to write, it's simple to program with, but it is very verbose. Simple things take kilobytes of space. Why is that bad? Because it takes memory, processing power and bandwidth. You only have to program something once, but the memory usage, waste of CPU cycles and waste of bandwidth just keeps going on and on and on forever.

If people would just have invested into some protocols a tiny bit more, like XHTML, like SOAP, like RSS, like this hip new REST thing, they would have come up with more efficient protocols. Sure, the parsing would have been more difficult, but come on, we're IT people right? We're not sissies. Think about all the wasted resources, all the wasted energy.

People talk about global warming and energy waste. They should calculate how much of that can be blamed on XML. I think people would be surprised. Hundreds of thousands of servers are at this very moment wasting their CPU cycles and bandwidth, and with that their energy, on parsing and generating XML documents. Haven't we ruined enough with this already. Isn't it time to come up with more efficient data representation format?

Maybe Al Gore should make a documentary about that.

Reddit Laptop Auction

Two of the guys that started Reddit are now auctioning off the laptops that they used to build Reddit and are giving the money to charity, to the American Brain Tumor Association no less. Now the American Brain Tumor Association is a great organization, I'm not going to mean about that. I think it's great that they sell their old junk and give the money to charity.

One word to potential buyers, however: you're crazy if you buy this stuff. It's from the Reddit founders! Reddit is the whore house of the free software movement. Powerbooks are cool things (although filled up with GPL software), but these thing have been contaminated by nerdiness. If you put a bid on these things the only reason I can think of is the charity, well here's an idea: you can also give that money directly so you don't get to keep this junk in your house, plus the charity gets about $60 more because you save on shipping costs. Here's their website.

Just an idea.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Kaboom!

Some cool things you just don't do enough, because you simply don't get the opportunity. One example of this are blowing up stone mines (wish there were such a thing as a free software mine):

Big blast

Source.

Go Steve!

I'm a long time reader of Fake Steve Jobs' blog and often agree with him. Of course he's still a tree hugger and uses GPL software in his operating system. But you know what, I can forgive him that. Nobody's perfect (with a few exceptions). He often takes shots at people and companies that other people only cheer at. Plus he uses great pictures when shooting:

awesome squirrel.jpg

Today it's Google's turn to be shot at. Admitted, I do use their blogging platform (as does Steve, don't get why, can't he use .Mac or something?), but for the rest they pretty much suck (too much investment in open source for one). So, go Steve!

Finally Real Innovation: 3D Mail

Some things are just awesome:



Be sure to get the paid version though.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

TechCrunch Buys InviteShare

TechCrunch, the site for what some call alpha geeks (which in my head is the same as half-done nerds), has acquired InviteShare. InviteShare is a site where you can register yourself as wanting an invite for some "web 2.0" startup arrogant enough to think they can afford an invite system.

Examples of such companies are Pownce (a little-innovative pimped version of Twitter) and some others, I would check which, but, again, I get an "Error 500 - Internal server error" when I go to the website. I am repeating myself, but this likely due to the use of fetish software. And that's what you get when you don't pay: sucky webservers, which is exactly why I find this InviteShare a stupid idea. You share invites, you give them away for free essentially. Why would you do that? Well first of all why do you need an invite at all, I wonder. But given that you do, shouldn't you monetize these invites? That's what they did when Gmail just came out, you could actually buy Gmail invites on eBay. That's a model that I like much more than this InviteShare junk.

How much do you guess TechCrunch paid for InviteShare? I'm sure it never will pay itself back. There's no business plan there. It's about giving away stuff for free and it's for a niche market -- early adopting nerds.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rails Sucks, Here's Why

Here's a nice rant by a guy that calls himself "a Hack", which I feel is unjustified. He's not a hack because he has the (seemingly) rare ability to look beyond the hype, beyond the propaganda. He actually looked at Ruby on Rails (a web framework for a creepy language called Ruby) from an objective point of view and makes good points.

For those who don't have time to read it all (it is kind of nerdy and technical, so I won't blame you), here's the summary:

I recently finished using Ruby on Rails to write a simple bug tracking application. I thought I'd take this new RAD environment for a spin, having heard all the hype.

It kind of blew.

The question is, why does Rails blow? Here's my theory: it was built by amateurs, by hobbyists, by volunteers that have no sense of quality. They are paid by nobody. And as you should be aware: the less you pay, the more crappy the work. It's one of the most important rules in business.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

iPhone vs. Nokia E70

Now I don't care all that much about what kind of phone you use, as long as it's not an OpenMoko one, but I am sometimes amused by the way they are compared to one another.

Have a look at this comparison between iPhone and Nokia E70. I like it because of its style. It's not me, but it reminds me of myself, which I like.

You've probably never heard of the E70 because Nokia's marketing team is busy finding every last dick in the universe to suck, so I'm going to do their job for them and tell you about this product. And no, I'm not being paid to do this. I'm just tired of the iPhone fanboys shooting huge sticky wads and high-fiving each other (literally) over their stupid cellphones.

Conservapedia

No, this is not something I set up, it was done by other conservatives: Conservapedia. It's the conservative version of Wikipedia, which apparently was not conservative enough, which I can agree with. Wikipedia is too liberal, because every moron can edit it.

So what do you change in the conservative version of Wikipedia? You disable the edit functionality. And that's basically what they did. Except for the discussion pages which can be edited by all registered users. That's an acceptable solution in my opinion.

Finally a trustworthy, conservative encyclopedia on the internet!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Open Library, Bound to Fail

├ťbergeek Aaron Schwartz started another project, it is called The Open Library. My first reaction: I don't like that word "open" in there. It has connotations like "free" and "open source" or "GPL." Luckily it turns out not to be that bad. It does not appear to be a free as in freedom kind of thing. For a moment I thought they were going to rebuild the whole world's library under the GNU FDL, but thank God, no, they aren't.

As I understand it they are building a structured wiki, in which you can post metadata and excerpts of books and with that building the world's biggest library -- that's the idea.

So what does that remind you of? Yes, Wikipedia. The Wikipedia of books. Bookapedia. And what does that translate to? Crappy, often misleading or simply wrong information. We've seen this all before people, it's a frickin' wiki. Everybody can edit, everybody can screw it up. Here you go, currently I am the second author of "Tom Sawyer":



Yet more wasted time on another pointless exercise in freeing up information in a world full of molesters. Will these geeks ever learn?

Moko Guys Meet the Real World

Here's a post about difficulties with OpenMoko from one of the OpenMoko guys. First of all: horrible site design, in what time are these guys still living, 1995? Telling from their domain name (gnumonks.org) much earlier than that.

Anyway, here's the essence of the post:

We know to which height we want to reduce the cubicles. We know what kind of Internet uplink we want. Still, it's close to impossible to get anything done. People will just outright refuse to do what they are asked (and paid!) to do.

It does not happen often, but yes, finally, one of the free software nerds figures out that other free software nerds only do what they want, never what you want them to do. Not even if you pay them. To put it in Matrix terms so that you understand: another person unplugged from the free software Matrix. Congratulations.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Being a Geek

Here's a set of slides from Philip S Tellis, whoever that may be, about "Being a Geek" and how great it is. Essentially a set of propaganda slides. He starts with a couple of -- what he calls -- myths:

  • An obsession with books, studies, gadgets?
  • Wearing thick glasses?
  • Having no [social] life?
  • Speaking in large incomprehensible terms and not caring about sport?
I'm impressed by this self-knowledge, Philip obviously being a geek himself. Now we're of course all excited to see these myths being debunked. And finally on the twelfth slide they are:
  • Geeks like to study
  • Not all geeks wear glasses. Some use lenses.
  • Geeks have great social lives, and very large social networks
  • Geeks are active in sport like UT, Warcraft and Everquest
'nuff said.

Another interesting thing is on slide eleven "So What about Linux and FOSS?" Now FOSS, if I'm not mistaken, stands for Free and Open Source Software. So this basically translates to "So What about Ancient Operating Systems and Fundamentalism and Extremism?" According to the slide "Geeks love FOSS". This moves geeks up high on my list of enemies.

LaTeX... Beautiful?

There's this old saying that says you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That's why I occasionally visit Reddit, whore house of the free software movement. At the top of their programming section currently is a story entitled "The beauty of LaTex".

Yes, you read that correctly. The beauty of LaTeX. In case you're not familiar with LaTeX (I won't blame you), LaTeX is a "document processor" that reads a text file containing nerdy codes and translates it into another nerdy format (DVI), which you can then convert to another nerdy format (postscript), which you can then convert to a normal person format (PDF). As you may have guessed, this is technology from the 1980s and totally superfluous today, but still there's nerds all over the planet that use it. Probably because they can't afford proper computers and proper software, such as Microsoft Word. Wake up guys!

Here's a piece of LaTeX code for your enjoyment, I got it from Wikipedia (yes, it's useful for some things -- don't get me started on Wikipedia):

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\title{\LaTeX}
\date{}
\begin{document}
\maketitle \LaTeX{} is a document preparation system for the \TeX{}
typesetting program. It offers programmable desktop publishing
features and extensive facilities for automating most aspects of
typesetting and desktop publishing, including numbering and
cross-referencing, tables and figures, page layout, bibliographies,
and much more. \LaTeX{} was originally written in 1984 by Leslie
Lamport and has become the dominant method for using \TeX; few
people write in plain \TeX{} anymore. The current version is
\LaTeXe.
\newline
% This is a comment, it is not shown in the final output.
% The following shows a little of the typesetting power of LaTeX
\begin{eqnarray}
E &=& mc^2 \\
m &=& \frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}
\end{eqnarray}
\end{document}

How sad is that? Who gets this? You expect a normal person to understand this? Do you think these people heard of evolution, about progress? The only progress made in this LaTeX world is that there is now a script that converts this geek code directly to PDF. Very impressive. Still fellas, you're 20 years behind what people in the normal people's world are doing. We use these things that you call WYSIWYG editors, where you actually see how your text is going to look when it's printed. Yes! Culture shock!

Anyway, the web server that the "The Beauty of LaTeX" article runs on is down, I get a nice 500 Internal Server Error, not surprising. The site probably uses some crap like Perl and other fetish software. Plus, there are probably hundreds of other people who are just as intrigued as me by seeing the words "LaTeX" and "beauty" used in one sentence.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Free Radicalism and Extremism

The war on terrorism is on. Radical Islamists better watch out, we're coming to getcha. More than before people have become aware of the dangers of fundamentalism and radicalization, however in IT this behavior has grown quite a bit in the past few years. What I'm talking about? This fella:



King Richard Stallman, head of the church of Emacs. The ├╝bergeek himself. He beliefs in pure freedom. According to him it is wrong to limit the right the usage of software. He and his pals do everything to force freedom on people. This seems contradictory -- taking away the freedom of choosing non-free software, but well... welcome to Richard's world.

Thousands of years ago we were hunters. Each had to catch his and her own deer, pigs and chickens and eat them. As we got better at this, not everybody had to hunt anymore and could focus on other things. Building houses, for instance. A house would then be traded for a number of chickens and cows. That's what capitalism was based on. According to Meriam Webster:

An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market
Note the term used here: "ownership", "prices". It's all about money and intellectual property, not about giving away goods for free. Not about giving up rights to what your produce. If we would have done that, well, we probably had gone extinct long ago.

The real fundamentalists, like Stallman are the ones that ought to be stopped, but people don't seem to care at all. Instead this guy is treated like a god by some. Therefore I'm starting my own war or terror, the war on Free Software fundamentalism. Watch out mr. Stallman.

Sarcastic Gamer Surface

Some sad person put a voice-over on a Microsoft commercial for Microsoft's Surface:



It's so easy to make fun of stuff. Good job Sarcastic Gamer, if that is your real name. The lamest thing, however is that this guy(?) himself admits that in fact he loves this great commercial product:

Truth be told, We actually WANT a Surface Computer, but since we can't afford one, we thought it might be fun to make fun of it.

That's just sad.

Find the Linux User

ValleyWag, the best source on technology news already for a long time, has a nice list of geek seductive dances.

Good luck with that guys.

Free Phone

The free software losers did it again. They were jealous of the success of the Apple iPhone, so what do they do? They make an inferior product in which they copy as much as they can get away with. Look at these beauties:



Nice job on the drop shadows on that image guys. Couldn't use the nice reflection thing right, then it would have been too obvious. Honestly though, this thing looks like crap. What's this stupid wheel shaped thingie at the bottom left of the screen, a steering wheel or something?

But the best thing is yet to come. How would you call this sucker? Clearly, it has to be something with "open" right, because oh no, let's not even think about being original. Now, try to imagine you're a tremendous nerd and have to come up with a name for a phone. You want to break out of your room-sized world by doing something rebellious. So what do you call this sucker?

OpenMoko

Yes. Open. Moko. A moko is some kind of tattoo apparently. Very cool guys. Their tag line: "open. mobile. free." Incidentally, this is the typical FSF definition of free -- meaning $300 if you buy an alpha quality product and $450 for a beta. The iPhone goes for $500, guys, and is a chick magnet. Something running something called OpenMoko and called a "Neo", hardly does it.

Yes, the first OpenMoko phone to come out is called, wait for it, the Neo1973. Two things:

  1. Neo. Really? You don't think the world thinks you are hardcore nerds already? How about calling it the Skywalker phone, and referring to the iPhone as the DarthPhone?
  2. 1973. This is the best thing ever. You're backdating this thing 34 years, honestly? It's based on Linux, which is a Unix system which was probably last updated in 1973, so that is very honest of you guys. Hah!
Congrats guys.