The very end of the PC era, and why Android/Linux is about to Win

Even as a Linux enthusiast and big Linux promoter for decades, it’s not a mystery that I’ve never been an Android fan. In particular, all the user experience in Android is all but what mom and dad need (they need the iOS UI).

sku_137012_81Nevertheless, in the past few months there have been many, many signs that Android/Linux is going to win massively on personal computing devices, and that it means the end of the PC era.

The last two examples are:
– this mini PC running Android 4.0, that contains just what everyone needs at home as a basic PC. And it costs… $68.20!

– the Nikon Coolpix S800c which is loaded with Android so it can make itself all the job to publish and share pictures on the net, for example.

This is the very end of the traditional PC as we have seen it for years! Android/Linux, which is gaining a better user interface over the time, is going to be everywhere, on every device. And the main user PC will now concentrate on the smartphones and tablets that can possibly plug to more confortable terminals (better keyboard, TV or dedicated screen…).

The reason of the Android success? It’s open and free. On the opposite side, Apple’s iOS is *VERY* closed and expensive.

Apple has been making the money because they have revolutionized the smartphone market since 2007 and has kept for a while an advantage of the innovation side. But they are still doing money because of the cinetic energy of the iPhone and iPad on the market. And they are very unlikely to stay as one of the biggest market cap on the planet, because Android is moving fast and incredibly big.

Linus, you can be proud of this accomplishment!

Promouvoir une société numérique libre

J’ai un problème (et même plusieurs en fait), en général, dans la vie : mes capacités d’expression sont toujours très inférieures à ce que je veux dire et aux idées que je veux faire passer. Donc quand quelqu’un (Tristan Nitot, fondateur de la fondation Mozilla Europe) exprime clairement quelque chose qui me trotte dans la tête depuis un moment, j’en profite pour copier-coller ! Et vous invite à lire l’intégralité de son billet Promouvoir une société numérique libre.

Extrait :

"Notre identité en ligne n'est plus garantie par nos gouvernements mais par des sociétés privées américaines. Quiconque ayant eu son compte Google ou Facebook clôturé par erreur - et il y en a sûrement dans cette salle - saura vous expliquer à quel point il est douloureux de se voir confisquer sa vie numérique par une entreprise sans visage.

Le téléphone mobile, interface de tous les instants entre l'individu et sa vie numérique, ses amis, ses sources d'information, son travail, n'est pas sous contrôle des utilisateurs. Certains Appstores monopolistiques offrent une pléthore d'applications, mais ils décident pour nous, utilisateurs, ce qu'on a le droit d'installer comme logiciel sur nos smartphones, avec toutes les dérives que cela implique en terme de liberté.

Les livres numériques sont un formidable moyen d'accéder au savoir et de transporter avec soi toute une bibliothèque, mais il est toujours impossible de prêter un livre numérique à un ami.

L'apparente gratuité des services sur Internet est trop souvent un marché de dupe où l'utilisateur échange des données personnelles - sur lesquelles il et impossible de mettre un prix - contre un service qui ne coûte presque rien à faire tourner. Ceci est bien résumé par cette phrase à laquelle je vous invite à méditer : "si vous ne payez pas un service Web, vous n'êtes pas le client, vous êtes le produit qui est vendu".

Tous ces défis peuvent être relevés pour construire la société numérique dans laquelle nous voulons voir vivre nos enfants. C'est pourquoi je fais appel à vous, personnalités du numérique, pour que dans nos efforts au quotidien, nous construisions un avenir dont nous pourrons être fiers."

Et petite question au passage : pour quelle raison les candidats à l’élection ne se préoccupent pas de ces questions ? Peut-être ne sont-ils simplement pas au courant. Pays à la traine…

Ulteo OVD v3.0 is here…

ulteoThe version 3.0 of Ulteo Virtual Desktop has been released yesterday. It’s a big milestone for us, because it’s the result of several years of R&D, specifically more than 18 months for this version in particular. It’s just 6 years I received that killing call to tell me that I had to find new professionnal activities. During those 6 years, I had to rebuild everything from scratch, and Ulteo took most of my time. Today, the project and the company have gained some maturity, and the amount of requests and new deals is increasing. Growing is good, but it’s not that easy. Now we have to find money to fuel that growth, the intelligent way. That’s the challenge for 2012!


Je n’ai jamais été pour la démocratie directe, ayant la faiblesse de croire que chaque individu ne possède pas toutes les données nécessaires pour prendre toutes les décisions possibles et imaginables.

Néanmoins, dans certains cas, je pense qu’une certaine dose de démocratie directe serait absolument nécessaire, notamment dans le contrôle des élus et plus généralement de ceux qui prennent les décisions au nom du peuple.

Exemples très récents, choisis volontairement pour faire la balance :
– l’UMP refuse de baisser les salaires des députés. En temps de rigueur budgétaire absolue, c’est absolument indécent.
– Jean-Pierre Chevènement qui refuse de quitter son grand logement social, c’est de la même manière absolument indécent.

C’était le coup de gueule du mercredi 9 novembre, je suppose ne pas être le seul à être dans cet étât d’esprit dans ce pays.

Will RFID re-materialize digital content (in a poetic manner)?

It’s been more than 10 years that music has entered the digital area, as an insidious process that has reach a point where most teenagers just don’t buy audio CD anymore. Instead, they listen to songs on their iPod. The same process has applied to other artistic contents, including movies, and now it seems that the book, you know, that object with many sheets of paper, is going to decline in favor of iBooks, Kindle books and others.

leafEven me, while still listening to my CDs (and planning to retrieve a vinyle turntable because the _sound is better with vinyl plates_), I’ve started to use the iPod stuff on my iPhone, and I confess I already purchased some songs on iTunes, even some full albums.

As a result, it seems that this dematerialization process is ineluctable, and that the real world, I mean the one with objects that weigh and that you can pick up with you hand, is about to become an empty space with just some humans interacting with digital devices.

The situation seemed to be sadly desperate and the future was dark. Until yesterday.

Yes, yesterday, I attended the first “HackDays Paris”, a 40-hour intensive hacking marathon where we were demoed 47 awesome projects. One of them was “#45 Noise-it-yourself”, created by a team of 3 hackers lead by Olivier Brechon.

The “#45 Noise-it-yourself” prototype (which won the first prize) is a box where you can put objects. You can put small objects in it. Maybe you can put a sleeve, or a CD-case, or a card or whatever that is not too big, depending on the size of the box of course. At his point you may think that Ulteo is killing my neurons or maybe I need to sleep. But wait! it’s not finished.

The box has a _RFID sensor_. And objects you put in it have tiny RFID stickers on.

Got it? You connect the RFID sensor to some information processing system, such as a computer or a more basic electronic device, and you know which object has been put in the box. So you can trigger some corresponding actions that start when a an object with the RFID sticker is put in the box, such as starting a song (from Jamendo,, Deezer, or your favorite VLC player).

So now you can put an autumn leaf into the box, and this will start “Les feuilles mortes” by Yves Montand (remember: it was Hack Days _Paris_). In a more Rock fashion, it could start “Les feuilles mortes” by Iggy Pop (or maybe like me you would prefer another song by Iggy, but in this case you may prefer another object than a leaf).

So imagine that you have that device, and programmable RFID stickers, you could have your songs, or full albums, represented by the object of your choice. Whereever you want them, ordered or not. Drop the object in the box and you get the music you want. No need to click a mouse or touch a screen anymore to listen to music. Great!

Of course, it could start movies on your TV or your computer, the same way. How great and instinctive it would be for a 2 years old child to watch his favorite Barbapapa episode just by putting a small Barbapapa figurine or a card with a visual resumé of the episode. And maybe you can put that stickers on your books so that you throw the book in the box and then you can get the content displayed on your iPad or Kindle. (In that particular case, maybe that reading the book directly could be a good option as well.) Or maybe even run a software?

Of course, that could also be a nice business model for music labels, software makers, movie makers. They can distribute the RFID identities that would fit the purchased content, you could load them into RFID stickers. Or even sell cards or… various objects with the RFID stick already in place and loaded with a digital label.

And the concept could even be extended to other fields and other purposes… And some other ways than “putting in a box” can be done, such as approaching the object from your smartphone or computer.

Last, why not imagine a variant that would use QR codes instead of RFID stickers? The sensor is likely to cost little though.

So maybe I missed something before yesterday’s presentation, and that it already exists as real devices? In this case, please tell me! 🙂

Les petites misères de Gogol

Gare Saint-Martin de Caen à la merEt oui, parfois Google nous offre une vraie partie de rigolade. Il y a peu de temps, je cherchais le numéro de téléphone d’un assembleur de PC près de chez moi. Evidemment, le reflexe maintenant c’est Google : plus rapide que les pages jaunes et moins à cheval sur les champs (vu qu’il n’y en a qu’un seul).

Et voilà je trouve mon info, et en même temps Google me propose d’emblée un moyen de transport pour me rendre à ce magasin. “Train : Gare Saint-Martin”. Alors déjà me proposer le train alors qu’entre le lieu où je fais ma requête et le magasin en question il y a 5 minutes à pieds, c’est un peu étonnant, mais ce n’est pas tout…

“Gare Saint-Martin” ? ah oui ! Effectivement il y a bien eu une gare Saint Martin pas très loin de chez moi. Elle a ouvert en 1875 et définitivement fermé (y compris les voies ferrées correspondantes) en… 1950 !