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Archive for December, 2005

Bill Gates Workaholism

Bill Gates dancing
Hurry! Hurry! Lotsa’ work to do, guys!

I have found the following old page, from which I would like to borrow a snippet.

He’s (Bill Gates) a ferocious workaholic, who regularly puts in 80-hour weeks, and expects his employees to do the same. And although he’s something of a visionary, he’s not a particularly reliable one; he never meets product deadlines, and the goods he so tirelessly promotes are mostly vaporware. God, like Gates, owes his power and success less to the quality of his product than to his ruthless business sense. He’s created a near monopoly by outmuscling the competition. You might not like this universe, just as you might not like Microsoft’s clunky programs; but pragmatically speaking, where else do you have to go?

Related item: Roots of Authority

Search Engines Assembly

Cards deck with the player peeking
Why I put my cards on the table and wound up using Google

UNTIL about 3 years ago I was using Webcrawler as my text and graphics search engine almost exclusively. Webcrawler offered some nice features, without a doubt. I can clearly recall suggestions for completion or extended/refined searches on the side of existing SERP‘s. This assimilates to Google Suggest, which came about much later. In due time, Webcrawler also harvested results from Google, which made the results rather pleasing.

At present, Webcrawler has an interesting feature, which enables the user to see results from all major search engines (crawlers rather) side-by-side. One can see the top 10 from each on the same page. This is nothing like Dogpile (bad name for a business) that is composing results artificially. Rather than getting a mishmash of results, Webcrawler gives a more comprehensive and impartial view that brings together many search engines into one (overloaded and cluttered) page.

A9 is doing something similar to Webcrawler, but it very Google-centric. The user can see results from the Web, alongside images, videos, and more. Speaking of video search, see my previous post on search results bias.

The disadvantages of the approach are speed and visual clutter. Much of the information on the screen will be discarded. Yet, having plenty of information, both textual and visual, might be helpful sometimes, especially over a quick Internet connection where traffic is expendable.

Search Engines and Biased Results

Google Cookie

This one comes from a blog, but it is still worth reading.

The New York Times reported that Google will give AOL preferred placement for AOL’s videos in Google’s video search in Google’s new Google Video search site. In addition, Google will include links to AOL videos on the Google Video home page — and won’t label any of those links advertising, or call the preferred listings advertising, even though they clearly are ads.”

The Electronic Information Overload


CNN runs an article on that well-understood impact of excessive information digestion. This often leads to addiction, which can be treated by clinics these days.

Will all this instantly accessible information make us much smarter, or simply more stressed? When can we break to think, absorb and ponder all this data?

“People are already struggling and feeling like they need to keep up with the variety of information sources they already have,” said David Greenfield, a psychologist who wrote “Virtual Addiction.” “There are upper limits to how much we can manage.”

Related items:

WordPress 2.0 Released

WordPress 2.0
WordPress 2.0: the new dashboard

WORDPRESS is a free PHP/MySQL blogging software, which has changed people’s perspective on self-hosted sites. With nearly a million downloads of its previous version, it accommodates a large number of sites where it is also used as a professional CMS. The alMatty (sic) WordPress 2.0 was out yesterday (that’s right! Boxing Day) and it offers many enhancements over its predecessor. In particular, it incorporates a WYSIWYG editor and makes state-of-the-art use of Javascript and CSS. You can finally get it while it’s hot. 5,000 downloads so far, in a matter of just hours.

Songbird and AmaroK

Songbird teasers: pre-release screenshots

ONGBIRD is a new media-type Open Source project. It is intended to clone, at least in some sense, the popular iTunes
from Apple. Songbird will offer users the ability to buy music from a variety of sources on-line. To me, this seems like amaroK with an option to spend money.

I already have amaroK (see image at the bottom) and rarely do I feel tempted to switch. I get music by running wget recursively, so I needn’t purchase anything, no matter the cost. amaroK does everything I could possibly wish for. It even comes pre-installed with KDE-oriented distributions like SuSE. GNOME users can use Rhythmbox instead, but it is poorer in terms of looks and functionality.

I have recently been told that amaroK 2.0 will be based on QT4, so with the arrival of KDE 4 (around the third quarter of 2005) expect a Windows version too. Open Source music managers could truly take off in a broad market, rather than just a niche. In fact, both amaroK and Songbird have the potential to have impact that is on par with that of Mozilla Firefox.

Related item: amaroK’s recent open review in the KDE News site

amaroK in action

KDE and Ease-of-Use

KDE Plasma

KDE and its future “Plasma” for user interaction (source)

IT is no secret that I am an avid KDE fan. I would definitely choose it over GNOME for most purposes. I use GNOME as a desktop environment almost every day, but only while at work.
KDE is simply more powerful and appears to have a brighter future ahead.

There recently emerged a commotion due to a message from Linus Torvalds (‘father’ of Linux), wherein he expressed dissatisfaction with GNOME. It seemed as though his outspoken involvement in desktop ‘camps’ stirred a storm in a teacup. Typically, Torvalds not only avoids talking about competing operating systems, but also avoids criticising non-profit initiative such as GNOME, which support his kernel and make it more popular across the globe.

During the holiday I came across an insightful blog post from QDevBlog. It encapsulates many the thoughts among KDE users and the KDEdevelopers. It also includes many valuable facts that I was never aware of.

The recent discussions on KDE versus other Linux desktops – accidentally started by KDE-user Linus Torvalds – showed an interesting new development in the eternal debate. First of all it didn’t come as a surprise that Linus uses KDE, after all Fritz Elfert made it very clear back in 1996 that KDE stands for “Kernel-Hackers’ Desktop Environment”, when Kalle and the German IT press still pushed “Kalle Dalheimer Experience”.


To be even more explicit: It’s a fairy tale that end users will decide against KDE when given the choice, and it’s a fairy tale that KDE is more difficult to use than any of the alternatives.


KDE is all about ease of use, contemporary functionality, and outstanding graphical design, and we make it better and better with every release, in all three aspects.

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