iPhone again

Apple iPhoneAs many of you have certainly already noticed, the iPhone makes a lot of buzz. Last news is that since yesterday, they cut the price by 33%! Not a joke, not an April fool, not even a September 5th fool. They (Jobs and his crew) want it to be a more attractive phone choice for the masses. There is a long way to go for sure 🙂 Anyway, I’m really enjoying the iPhone. Even for getting me awaken on the morning, I enjoy the bells or harp sounds, and it’s very convenient to be able to set several alarm clocks profiles, since I’ve got two typical kinds of weeks as for waking up time. Recent news about the iPhone also include that now you can use it with any SIM in the world but you have to crack it either by using an expensive SIM flashing method, or use soldering. In both cases, I’m happy enough with Wifi use for now with the iPhone. _one or two_ things I dislike in the iPhone though… First of all the Wifi is not that stable. It eventually loses the carrier, which forces you to restart it (not completely though). What else… ah yes, a _very_ Appleish annoying thing (besides the AT&T joke): I’ve not found any way (but jail-break + ssh) to save some MP3s within the iPhone! No other official way of doing that but iTunes. You can’t save email attachments, you can’t save web files locally. You will only be able to play it for the latter. This is quite an idiot behaviour. Same for pictures. The iPhone is great, but could be better, for sure.

Anwiki, best multilingual Wiki/CMS ever

When I started the first Mandrake Linux website in 1998, it became multilingual very quickly, because many people liked to contribute their own language. For sure, not everybody can read and speak English! Just before it disapeared, in 2005, mandrakelinux.com was supporting fully 15 different languages, helped by a great team of contributing translators. Anyway, that was difficult to maintain because we had not the right tool, and maintaining a website with several languages is very different from localizing software, because content is constantly changing. During the time mandriva.com was revamped (was not looking “professionnal enough”), I had the chance to meet a really promising and friendly guy, Antoine Walter, who joined later to help on Ulteo web development. He eventually told me that he was working on a new multilingual wiki-CMS called AnWiki. When he showed me the first demos, I was very impressed and I asked him if we could use  AnWiki for ulteo.com: many people were asking to get localized content and we couldn’t do it easily because no tool was powerful enough for that. After one year of hard work and discussions about features, Antoine has finally released a first beta engine for the Ulteo.com website and we’re using it in production now. Antoine will decide when he’s going to release the AnWiki to the world, but stay tune with this project: it has awesome features, awesome ways to edit translations. That’s something nobody has never seen before and I’m very confident it’s going to have a brilliant future. Thanks to Antoine for this great achievement, and long-life to AnWiki!

Is it still worth going to school?

I first wondered about this question considering my personal case: since I was young, at least since 8 years old, I have been attracted by computers and software. I learned by myself a lot, mostly in books and magazines, but at this time there was still no Internet, no Wikipedia, so you couldn’t learn everything. When I went to college and passed my “baccalaureat” (this is the exam you pass in France when you are 18, just before going to University), I had always the maximum note in computer sciences because it was so… simple. Then I went to Uni and had still to study physics, chemistry and mathematics for 2 years before specializing in computer sciences and software engineering. During this period, I (and all others) became a kind of specialist of n-dimension spaces, vectorial spaces, Schrödinger and Maxwell equations, orbitals, neutrophil and electrophil molecule sites, pKa, pKb and a mountain of things that were very interesting and exciting. But for computers sciences, I only got 2hours a week + a specialization in OO programming. Serious things only started the next three years when I was able to end (totally) with Physics, Chemistry and Maths, and focus on software development and related. At this stage I was 21. I really started to study computers sciences and learn something about it at 21! Of course, I started to learn a lot by myself on the net too (and still doing!), but I had to start doing something in my life. It’s already been a long time I wanted to start a software project/company and at 25 years old I was able to do so. I really think I could have started sooner. I like Physics, Maths and others, but really, I was in computer sciences since 1982, and couldn’t participate sooner while I’d had loved to do so. Now with Ulteo I’m meeting software developers who, at 18 or 20, have the same or better programming skills of people who, in the past, usually had to wait to complete their cursus and be 24 or 25 and acquire some experience for several years in real situation. These young guys I’m meeting (and trying to hire!) have been into software development for years, learned everything on the Internet (and also learning with others on Internet). They are going to school at the same time, because here, you have to get your exams and diplomas or your salary will be miserable. They are just going to school to have the University or school diploma and get a good position. Is it serious? The only benefit they get by continuing to go to school is to learn something else than computer sciences, just for their personal benefit.

D.A.N.C.E. – a rocket!

Yesterday, while driving my car and listening to the radio, I was thinking that I hadn’t heard anything exciting for a long time. And boom! I listened to this Paris-based band called “Justice” (what an odd name for a band), and their latest single “D.A.N.C.E.”. Thirty years of club music revisited in four minutes, with awesome vocals. I bet you’ll love it.

Note: this streamed version from radioblogbluc.com was probably recorded from Radio 1 (BBC Radio1 I guess) so sometimes you can hear the DJ speaking over the song. Pretty bad, but enough to discover the song.

The benefits of green walls

That’s still an “underground hype”, but green walls are catching up attention from many people in Europe who see them as a real way to improve our environment, especially within towns and surbubs. The principle is to cover a building wall with a substrate where moss and various plants can take roots, grow up naturally and cover the entire surface of the wall. Expected benefits include: thermal isolation, phonic isolation (up to 16dbA), aesthetic and… depollution, including absorption of air’s CO2.  The best green walls benefit from the ambiant air’s humidity and are self-maintaining! More sophisticated ones require a regulated water and nutritive contribution system. Several technical options for the initial structure are available, from steel grids that encapsulate the substrate, to affordable cut felt!  Read the Wikipedia entry in English  (quite short though) or better the French Wikipedia entry

Green Wall at Quai Branly museum, Paris.

Wines… (really not Emulators!)

vin_477.jpgIt’s quite unusual to talk about Wines on a blog which is mostly dedicated to the computer/software/IT world, but I wanted to share some of my best and most recent experiences with wines. Especially French wines indeed. I won’t talk here about Bordeaux, Grands Crus and Grands Crus Classés. You know them, we like them, and they are expensive. But besides the worldide Wine “revolution” that is making some nice (but too much formatted) wines all other the world (California, South Africa, Chile, Australia), France is entering a new area about wines, that you may not be yet aware of. In particular, several (small) wine producers – “vignerons” – often young and newly installed on a domain, have started for 10 years to focus on quality in regions that were not well considered until now. They are using a real terroir, and try to produce only quality wines from many different cepages (Sirah, Carignan, Grenache…) that make them different from the well-known Merlot, Cabernet or Sauvignon that are present in most Bordeaux wines. These quality wines that often benefit from great “terroirs”, often offer a great and complex taste experience, and most of the time quite low-cost (at least for now), which makes them *very* interesting for people who are interested in tasting wines. In particular, there are many interesting “new” wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon area, including Coteaux du Languedoc, Terrasses du Larzac, Saint-Chinian, Cabardes… But even in other “not so famous” regions, such as the Loire area, I’ve been very surprised to find some great stuff that I wouldn’t exchange for a great Bordeaux (see after: “L’enfant terrible”). I’ll try to post regularly some interesting wines I’ve found. For now, I would recommend : “Mas de la Serrane : Le Clos des Immortelles 2003” (Terrasse du Larzac), “Le Clos des Treilles : L’enfant terrible 2004” (Anjou). “Chemin des Olivettes 2002 (Roquebrun)” (Languedoc). Back to the Bordeaux area, my two preferences for a while, at an affordable price (about 12euro) have gone to “Chateau La Vieille Cure 2002″ (Fronsac) and “Chateau Musset Chevalier 2003” (Saint Emilion Grand Cru). Last is an interesting initiative “web vignerons“, which lets you participate to the whole wine process, from the grapevine to the degustation! And that’s not only a virtual activity 🙂

Music author association closes down Radio.blog.club

French SACEM, the music author association in France, once again showed his overretro and brutal face by closing down Radio.blog.club. Radio.blog.club is a nice music streaming service that lets you play and listen the music you choose in a streaming mode. Radio.blog.club was negociating with the SACEM for several months to find a balanced agreement but the latter choose to just ask the server hosting company to close the service. The SACEM, which is protecting only French songs, were asking for 8% of Radio.blog.club’s total income while French songs are only 16% of searches on the website and while 70% of users aren’t French. It seems that Radio.blog.club is planning to move the servers somewhere else. Good luck to French SACEM, the music author association in France, once again showed his real face by closing down Radio.blog.club. Radio.blog.club is a nice music streaming service that lets you play and listen the music you choose in a streaming mode. Radio.blog.club was negociating with the SACEM for several months but the latter choose to just ask the server hosting company to close the service. The SACEM, which is protecting only French songs, were asking for 8% of Radio.blog.club income while French songs are only 16% of searches on the website and while 70% of users aren’t French. It seems that Radio.blog.club is planning to move the servers somewhere else. Good luck to Benoît Tersiguel and all the team. Be back soon!