Tuesday, May 31, 2005

open sourcing extinct products.

Among announcements that Kodak is stopping the production of its 8mm color film, one voice seems missing. Why does not Kodak just transfer the know-how or at least grant non-exclusive license for this film under creative commons or similar license? May be Kodak cannot make money on this film, but some smaller company could?

It would be nice if the government (US or some other) would even allow some tax deduction for the value of contributing a formerly commerical product to the pool of free ideas. Still, with more and more of these feasable and useful technologies becoming commercially non-viable for the companies that initially invented them, it would make sense to move the intellectual property into a free and open arena.

Saturday, May 28, 2005




This was quite fun, although I do not know how A. does it. So much equipment to carry. In order to use a tripod in Grand Central, or anywhere else in the city, one needs a permit, apparently. Once the police saw the permit; however, they were more than happy to help us out.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Master & Margarita

From Master & Margarita,
a nice exchange, much much better in original russian that this translation (from here):

'What is your command, messire? ' Faggot asked the masked professor.

'Well, now,' replied the magician reflectively. ' They're people like
any others. They're over-fond of money, but then they always were . . .
Humankind loves money, no matter if it's made of leather, paper, bronze or
gold. They're thoughtless, of course . . . but then they sometimes feel
compassion too .... they're ordinary people, in fact they remind me very
much of their predecessors, except that the housing shortage has soured them
. . .' And he shouted the order : ' Put back his head.'

[emphasis mine]
in russian, from here

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Elsewhere - Worldwide response to 'Piano Man'

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Worldwide response to 'Piano Man':

The mystery man was unable to communicate with police or carers after he was found in a street in Sheerness in a rain-soaked suit.

When staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital gave him a pen and paper in the hope he would write his name, he drew a grand piano.

His carers then put him in front of an instrument in the hospital chapel and he stunned them with a virtuoso classical performance.

how wierd.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

SURTEX - Day 1

For the next three days I am helping J. at the SURTEX trade show in NYC. Today I am blogging from my blackberry, so I do not think I will be providing any hyperlinks with the posts.

So what is SURTEX? It is a surface design show, occuring at the same time as the stationary trade show, and this year, the internationall furniture show. We have a booth. A small one, way out of the way of any potential customers. No danger of them coming upon us here. Our booth is fairly sparsely decorated. The manual for the show made much of the fire marshal who will burn on the spot anthing not made of some special fire-resistant material. An issue at a show where most materials are paper, cloth, or a mix of the two.

It is now 9:45am, and first intrepid buyers are confidently walking briskly past our booth. Fellow exhibitors are much nicer - they wait to smirk until they are almost out of my view.

More updates throughout the day.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

South Beach Photo

Not exactly Miami, but South Beach nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

maps and scale

Arriving in Charlotte, NC for a customer presentation last week was accompanied by 3 separate pangs. Firstly, Google, Yahoo, and Mapquest all refused to ascertain the customer location, and so we had to hope our hotel was located somewhere close to it and not 50 miles off in the wrong suburb. Secondly, tiredness from working all kinds of hours for almost two weeks was seriously impairing my ability to judge the quality of the presentation I was about to deliver. Finally, hunger played that role given to it by nature and Maslow's Hierarchy. Gnawing at my insides and brewing a storm in my head that is.

I could not do much about the first two issues until the next day, so eating became the main goal once I got to the hotel. (Aha, the Hierarchy again - shelter and food.) The following dialog of my coworker (CW) with the hotel clerk (HC) gave some food for thought:

CW: Do we go downtown for a nice dinner, or is there anything nearby?
HC: Oh no, there are many places nearby. This is a great area. Here is a map with some of them.
CW: Is there anything you would recommend?
HC: Oh, there are just so many to choose from. Would you like me to order a cab for you?

Impressed by the number of restaraunts on the map, and dubious about their quality, we settled on japanese "hibachi" restaraunt. After dutifully waiting 30 minutes for the cab we got in. And began driving.

In 10 minutes or so the downtown skyline became visible. 10 minutes later it receded back into the night. The restaraunt closed an hour earlier than indicated on our map, so we did not make it. Yep, the map of "nearby" restaraunts actually covered most of the Charlotte metropolitan area. What I still cannot quite figure out is whether the hotel was shilling for the restaraunts or the cab company.

Of file copies

Over the last few weeks, I have done a poor job of posting. No, no, keep your objections. I have, and I admit it. That does not mean I did not want to post, but does that count for anything? I have had all manner of thoughts. Reviews of some recently, and no longer so recently read books. Three or four by Vince Flynn and his superhero Mitch Rapp. A mystery in Russian, "Cosmopolis" by Dan DeLillo. "Birth of Venus" by Sarah Dunant [ed. I originally wrote "Durant"]. Impressed? And I am even remembering the titles and authors from atop my head. I will try to check them later, but you will have to believe me that I first wrote them from memory. [yes, "atop my head" is an intentional and poor attempt at a idiosyncratic literary indulgence].

So why am I typing now, and not over the last few weeks? Well, I am copying 5.67GB worth of files from IBM onto my laptop, at which point I will attempt to proceed to install a new development tool onto my machine. This is a lot of files, some of them thoroughly obscure - like OS390 file headers for a linux installation? This week is something of a breather for my team, always welcome and just as often disturbing. It is these slowdowns that make me feel I am a soldier in some war. The frenzied demands of clients quickly and painlessly turned our measured development process into a chaotic free-for-all, complete with obligatory heroics, mistakes, and all-nighters. And so we worked. And delivered, it seems, a fairly good custom version of our product for demo. After traveling, taking shoes off at the airport, and the client presentation the frenzy has been replaced by a calm, if sinking, feeling. Something is amiss, but there are so many things to do, that waiting for files to copy is the only sensible thing to do.

I hope to write a few posts this week. Once the week is over, and we overcome our immediate technical difficulties, hear from clients, and deal with personal issues, the frenzy will resume. And in time, subside again.

ps. Why would anyone believe a blogger will actually write about any of the things put off for future publishing? Beats me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bombs Bursting on Air - New York Times

That's a slightly unusual article for NYTimes - Bombs Bursting on Air It is possible that I just like the author's tone (calm, lucid, in my reading) to that of many other NYTimes columnists. It is a subjective judgement to be sure, on my part.