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Archive for June, 2006

I Do Not Look Forward to Vista

Bill Gates

IF you listen closely, you can already some squeaks of anguish. Indeed, these are coming from Mr. Ballmer as oinks his way into a nearby office to break a chair. The prospective departure of Bill Gates has been made public, so the future of the company his jointly founded does not look bright.

Despite the many problems that Microsoft is facing, many are eager to stay with Windows and accept the Microsoft waiver (EULA). More recently, privacy of users, as well as rights, have been compromised. It’s high time people took a closer look at the truth behind licensing. Deplorable executives whose misuse of the law has reached new peaks are now beginning to depart. This includes Jim Allchin with a Vista status report that can make anyone gasp. Windows Vista is the result of just 6 months in development.

When Windows Vista finally comes out, Steve Ballmer will no longer be dancing like a ballerina. It is no longer the 90′s (alluding to the in/famous “monkey dance” scene). More likely than that, he will toss a chair with sheer fury, repulsed by the outcome, which is completely unacceptable.

So, what it is that can keep Windows in the game for a few more years? To name a few factors: (1) dependence on a vendor, which leads to exacerbating standards, or (2) unilateral deployment of new proprietary ones. Fortunately, Adobe resist the latter, as well as the former. Moreover, OpenDocument has recently become the one and only ISO standard.

There is yet another snag that will act as a barrier to Windows’ acceptance. Microsoft OneCare’s marketing campaign will have to bash Windows security in order to be sold. It is a necessary ‘component’ that fixes another already-broken product, which ironically enough, comes from the very same vendor.

But not all hope is lost. On the other hand, Linux is gaining steam on a daily basis. I no longer blog as often as I used to simply because I report Linux advocacy items elsewhere. Apart from more obvious advantages that are stability, Freedom, and security, Linux always leaves me wanting more as I know the options for extensibility are there. They just need to be understood and embraced. The Linux kernel is better wrought, yet Microsoft propaganda, trolls and marketing puppets deny it. Yes, for income.

Shoulder Press Results Are In

Workout session
A random photo taken at the gym which I have gone
to for the past 4.5 years (captured in July 2005)

TODAY at the health club, I finally received some more results from the Mr. Fitness competition. I did very well at the fourth stage (among ten) compared to the other nine contestants. I shoulder-pressed 110 kilograms (1 repetition maximum, on a Scott Machine), giving me 2n place and leaving me in joint in 1st overall, on par with another competitor. This weight happens to be precisely 150% of what I was able to benchpress, excluding the weight of the bar.

Eccentric Computer Setups

5-head display

Picture from PlanetQuake

CHECK out some of the strangest computer setups you have ever come across. I particularly like the one which demonstrates, side by side, the difference between a dual-head setting and a very large screen. It has recently begun being manufactured for Dell and Apple, but is rather pricey.

The Road to Completion

SO it’s official. I have submitted the Notice of Submission form, which currently indicates that I should submit my thesis strictly on schedule, i.e. at the end of September. A final draft is due by the end of August, so I will bury myself to comply with the schedule. I have no clear plans for the period that extends beyond September, but I will definitely take a vacation. I probably need one, but I always have my doubts, based on experience.

On the down side of things, my submission to the British Machine Vision Conference was rejected yesterday. Ho hum. The paper outlined a method for evaluating model such as the one shown below.

First mode of an appearance model of the brain

Appearance model of the brain, ±2.5 standards deviations shown

KDE: User-Driven Innovation

Tiger in KDE
An example of less innovative KDE themes: Baghira Mac OS X lookalike

YESTERDAY I took a quick tour through some mockups and proposal made for the KDE project. I would like to present three examples, which are merely screenshots, sometimes combined with art work.

As these ideas were contributed and voted on by the community of users, no doubt KDE will remain at the forefront of functionality and user experience. It’s a case of programmers preparing and eating their own dogfood, so to speak.

Spreading Civilisation, or Shrinking it


The almighty Stephen Hawking has made a bold and inspiring statement:

“The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.”

In my humble opinion, many of the problems envisioned (sudden global warming, nuclear war, or a genetically engineered virus) can be addressed by controlling the size of the population, using birth control. The planet’s overcongestion leads to larger industries that are too morbid for a healthy, long-term existence.

Will society ultimately implode? Or will things escalate into a worst case scenario, as in this apocalyptic prediction? We shall live and find out.

Google’s Take on Operating Systems

Google Earth
Click to enlarge the image

GOOGLE Earth has been released for Linux (see my SUSE screenshot for proof), following the Mac OS X version and preceded by the Windows version.

Let us look further. Google Talk is another example of a similar ‘porting channel’. It began with Windows support, just like most desktop applications from Google. Then, there is Picasa, which was ported to Linux using the Wine layer, with several features disabled. There is a whole variety of applications that began as native Windows programs. This appears to be the trend rather than a mere coincidence. A few days ago, SketchUp from Google was ported to the Mac. No Linux version, as yet.

This simple observation leaves you wondering if Google, a company that is heavily dependent on Open Source software, even owing its success to Linux, perceives Windows (with a userbase majority) as a top priority. Only then come the Mac users, Linux being at the bottom (or top rather) of the pyramid. Considering the fact that Linux is more prevalent than Mac OS X (based on several surveys), it would seem as though Google unfairly favours Mac users while neglecting the loyal Linux users, whose number is underestimated. It is worth emphasising that even Google engineers use Linux (Goobuntu) on their desktops. Don’t they have a say?

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