Monday, June 13, 2005

Where will the next revolution take place?

Lawrence Lessig has published an account of his visit to Brazil where he sees the rise of free culture to counter the threat from the copyright culture that we find in most developed nations, especially USA. It contains an excellent history of how the current copyright laws in the USA came to be. Changing the opt-in system of copy-protection to an opt-out system, it seems, has landed us into this soup that we find ourselves in. Nice read!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Resource wastage due to junk accounts

I was just thinking the other day. (Yeah i do such strange things every now and then). Sites like Google, Yahoo, MSN have many many abandoned accounts - Could they salvage a lot of resources if they could detect junk accounts quickly and correctly? Questions are:

- Is it worth the effort with disk space and memory being this cheap?
- Surely they will save a lot of hassles in backup times?
- How are junk accounts defined? Currently, I believe they define it as accounts not accessed for a certain period of time (3-6 months)
- How can they detect spammer accounts?
- Reading and typing the characters from skewed images during account creation is one way
- Google has started account invitations based on SMS from a phone. So you need a valid (mobile?) phone number and you are limited to 10 Gmail accounts to a single number.

Version numbering 1.2

Interesting article about the inconsistencies in version numbering conventions in open source software. I have heard a lot of marketing-speak about version numbering theories. Here are a few:
  • Version numbers shouldn't go too high, else it seems like the product has many problems that are fixed with every version. Microsoft marketing seems to think this way, Adobe doesnt.
  • Certain version numbers convey better software than others. Point-oh releases are a case in point, but odd numbers convey instability.
  • Your version numbers should be higher than your competitors' to signify a better product.
So obviously there is no panacea here. Personally, I would prefer version numbers to be an increasing sequence - for the lifetime of the product.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Biodegradable phones anyone?

The above link talks about phones that, once discarded, could be planted into the soil and you could have some blooms right there. Too radical? IMHO, considering the millions of phones that get thrown away every year, why not? Considering who I work for, maybe I should send it to some internally maybe? :wink:

It could also encourage designers to use better bio-degradable raw materials in the manufacturing process. But then the links says this all; be sure to check out the videos on the website.

:Edit: Found other links where University of Warkwick researchers, Motorola and PVAXX devised just such a way.

The Finns

Having been in Finland for 6 months now, I feel they are too reserved. I mean reserved not in the common sense of the term, but as in too humble or understaters. If the British are known for their stiff upper lip, Finns probably come a very close second. Most people from other cultures that I have known, including my own (Indian), have a tendency to make a big deal about little things. Finns on the other hands practise the reverse art - making a small deal about big things. If only the rest of the world were like that - John Lennon wouldn't have had a chance to sing Imagine. ;-)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spam-a-lot (ref. Ivana Humpalot)

How can anybody get a few million SPAMs everyday? This guy at acme.com claims to handle that amount of SPAM and descibes his configuration in an essay aptly titled Mail Filtering. I still wonder what he did to get this amount of SPAM? Subscribe to every B-rated list on the internet?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Myth TV

I run MythTV on a Ubuntu Linux install on my PC. MythTV is a great PVR application for Linux users. Incidentally, I try to be TV-free, meaning I watch very little of it. So I don't care too much about its PVR features. I peruse it for my media collection, using the various plugins that are available.

While it works nicely for what it is programmed to do, I am not sure about the interface features. From what I understand, it can do one thing at a time. It can't, for example, run the Music Player while viewing images. Or show the weather while playing some music. I haven't looked at the code yet, but I suspect that this is not a plugin implementation problem, but rather a MythTV architecture issue. Maybe someday I will find the motivation and time to have a look at the code to see if this can be fixed.

But a great application overall. Thanks guys!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Where are we going?

Check out these pictures from the UN's evironmental atlas. I guess there is nothing new here - losing more forests to urbanisation, extreme usage of food resources causing chain reactions in the eco-system, etc. The pictures drive home the point though. Good going people!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hometheater setup #1

I am intrigued by the thought of building a state-of-the-art hometheater system. Being a DIYer, I have bought hometheater components as and when the pocket book would permit. Currently, I have the following equipment:

I have a pair of C-3 speakers as my front L-R and a pair of C-1s as my surround L-R speakers. And I love what I hear on them when I play the movies in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. And they do justice to my extensive music collection as well.

More details on the setup later.