Linus Torvalds on creating

An interresting interview of Linux' founder Linus Torvalds. I've often been inspired by the way Linux is "conducted" to work on Matroska. Just because I would like it to be as successful and interresting as developping Linux.

To invent something totally new and different just because you want to do something new and different is in my opinion, the height of stupidity and hubris.

I totally agree on the evolution side of things. And not to reinvent the wheel where it shouldn't be.

I have to continually try to explain to people that no, I don't "control" what happens in Linux. It's about having an environment that is conducive to development, not so much about any particular leader. And I think that is true in most cases, be it the "great sport coach" or the "great spiritual leader."

Of course the importance of getting humble when working with other talented people is obvious. Also the way it's important to have freedom and a good incentive to work between people. It worked very well so far... And in the same way, even though I created Matroska, I don't think I'm controlling everything. Just influencing, as much as the others.


Cognitive Freedom

An interresting article on freedom concerns that will happen when you can modify your brain and let doctors or companies (the same?) do it...

Cognitive liberty presupposes at least these three principles: cognitive privacy (what and how you think should be private unless you choose to share it); cognitive autonomy (self-determination over one's own cognition is central to free will); and cognitive choice (the capabilities of the human mind should not be limited).

It's sad that humans do not have to share what they know. A lot of knowledges have been lost along our history (and found again and again) because of that. And it will stay that way as long as we will be looking for more power than our brother (knowledge = power).


Firefox ad in NY Times

It is finally done. A paid ad for an open-source software in one of the most prestigious paper in the world. The money comes from donations to the Mozilla Foundation.

(PS: this was written using FireFox 1.0 in french with MOOX optimisations)


No Ads

I've discovered recently how to disable most advertisement (including the Google ones) on web pages on Firefox. It works just great. And the manipulation is not that complicated.

I guess this feature will be more and more popular. And commercial or press or any other websites that rely on advertisement will have harder and harder times to get people to see and click on their revenue.

Now OSNews, a free online news site, is proposing you to pay for not having ads, not being annoyed and have the site load faster. All things you can get for free from Adblock in Firefox. I find it ironic the way it's put out : "pay if you don't want us to annoy you".


Apple's future

I'm very mixed when it comes to Apple. I think they do a few good things, like OSX but are too trendy to be worth being praised.

I'm currently looking (waiting) for my next PC screen that would allow 1080p HDTV display in a reasonable space. A 20" or 23" would be the maximum size I can afford on my desk. And Apple make such screens either separately or in the latest iMac G5. But none has a video-in plug (neither HDMI). That's a serious drawback, especially from a company that claims to work hard on the digital-hub (that the PC/Mac would be). Where is TV ? Maybe the biggest multimedia activity of people with music... I think either Apple are really missing a huge opportunity here, or they are working hard on it for their next generation products. After all the other serious alternative to a computer as a digital hub is the TV + basic electronic device.

Next generation file system

I've been talking of a future wireless device that would allow me to listen to any music I own from wherever I am. The key to such a device would be to have either all my music in sync with another machine, or just parts of it as I request it using a wireless connection to download the music.

The Coda filesystem presented in this article is a good example of a working (research) system that is made for transparently keeping data up to date between servers and wireless devices, the same way you use basic files right now. So having a Coda server and a Coda client in a wireless device (like a Pocket PC with enough power to decode many audio formats) would be enough.

More on extending life

This time it's not Kurzweil but a UK scientists running the SENS project that predicts life will be extended to 1000 years (and more ?). The journalist also gives a wider view of the changes of this dramatic change. And also gives an alternative view on this. He even mentions the problem of god...

It's funny that experiments will start on animals and when it works everybody will want a better/sharper life. But for example will we still have children ? Maybe it won't be allowed because of limited resources. Death will still be a reality (through accidents) for a while (see Kurzweil for the second part of the extension). So will we work forever ? Or be allowed to stop working if we decide we won't live more than 20 years ?


iPod fashion

It's very clear that the iPod has become a trendy piece of hardware. Every fashion victim has to have one (Karl Largerfeld has hundreds of them if not thousands LOL). It shows how much you are "moving with your time" (and fuck the copyright holders ?). And the distinctive white earplugs make it easy for you to show that you are "in".

I don't have an iPod, I've had an Archos Jukebox Recorder for years. It could work as a portable HD and record in MP3 far before the iPod did, there is an open source firmware that really improve it, and best of all it was much cheaper than the iPod before it was released. But unfortunately as Apple is as bad as Microsoft, iTunes refuses to synchronise with it. I still have to sync it manually (I plan to replicate my whole MP3 collection on the Archos as soon as I replace the HD with a 80 GB version, something you can't have or do with an iPod).

The problem with fashion is that it comes and goes. Nothing you can rely on. But technology is meant to be reliable. And considering the price of an iPod (349€ to 459€, the price of a 40GB portable HD is around 80€) he price to pay for something that will be outdated or outmodded in 1 or 2 years is a lot ! In that time there will be many equivalent items to the iPod probably cheaper, with more freedom (compatible with more online shops than the expensive iTMS), more battery life, more features, etc. So any asshole who want to be "in" again will have to pay again a lot of money for something that will do the same.

The problem for Apple is that they have to be the manufacturer of the next big thing. Otherwise the iPod-mania will have lasted a few years and then everyone will be gone. The area where Apple is making money might be dead soon.

The most funny part of the story is those people who rushed to buy an iPod will have a hard-time realising that the song they bought on their iTunes can't be put in their next generation player, thanks to Apple (acting as worse as Microsoft). And that if they ripped their own CDs to AAC, they might have to reencode them because so far only Apple supports AAC, all the others are going WMA. And at that moment they will start to hate Apple for doing that to them, never warning them of anything, for this pricey hardware they bought and loved so much. Going for a monopoly has its drawback. And all the sheeps that keep on joining the boat will make this an even bigger catastrophy. Too bad sheeps always get the clue too late...

Stress & Aging

This is an interresting study that shows there is a link between stress and aging of cells. It's usually common to think that they are related but we don't know in what extent. So for the first time we have an idea of how much year a cell is aging more than a normal one.

It's also weird given that stress is kinda hard to define and it's also a purely "intellectual" thing. It's a response to cognitive stimuli, not physical ones. But it does have a deep impact on the way the cells work (or not).

So to have a better, longer, fitter life just avoid stress. Everybody knows that...