As 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.
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!
Several people warned me today about a guy in Denmark who was using Ulteo material on his website. The guy, J*************, is “starting” a new Linux-based project called “Odin Linux”. Looking at his website, you’ll notice that he was more than inspired by Ulteo web pages content since he mostly used them without any change but replacing “Ulteo” by “Odin Linux”. Worse: he used some Ulteo graphical material for Odin Linux, and worse, he claimed that all this material was created and copyrighted by him. Of course that’s a big (ridiculous) joke, but anyhow, I’m not laughing that much since some people asked me why Ulteo were using some stuff from “Odin Linux”! So until we can force him to wipe out our stuff from his website or enter a case if he’s reluctant to do so, I wanted to tell eveyrone that, of course, Ulteo owns all this graphics stuff. We can prove it easily, by providing the original vector files (Illustrator files), as well by challenging Mr S******** to provide 3000px width of these images, that of course we can provide without using any interpolation. Frankly, I really wonder why someone can just copy-paste our ideas and material and claim to be his own project. There is so much to do in the software field, why can’t he have his own ideas and have someone to design his pictures? J************, sorry for that, but you really deserve a _bad_ reputation. Update: “How could Ulteo rip off a logo from a lower resolution :p?” (thx to Raven) 🙂 Update2: he removed most of the Ulteo material.
Got my hands on the iPhone today and successfully unlocked it, thanks to DVD Jon. My feeling is that in term of user interface, there was the world before, and there is the world after. I’m impressed. Safari sucks a bit though. Note to all non-US users: you can’t use YouTube with the iPhone, but DailyMotion seems to work well. Now why can’t I scroll the screen on my lap with… just my finger?
Despite their excellent brand image, Apple is truly a close-source minded company. We all know about iTunes and the use of DRM, now it’s the iPhone turn: if you purchase an iPhone, good luck to use it with another phone operator than AT&T, or even use for its basic features (camera, wifi…). If you are outside the USA, it’s still worse: while you can easily order an iPhone on eBay, you have to wait they decide that European people can enjoy the iPhone too. The good news, is that smart people are working legitimately to circumvent these awful practises. As a result, “DVD Jon” already posted how to unlock the iPhone and use its basic capabilities (such as Wifi access and iPod player). Others are already providing ways to access the iPhone and modify it (and they need help!). The next step is to get support for any SIM card, which will let iPhone owners to just… use the iPhone as a cell-phone! And don’t forget the Nokia N95.
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.
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.
An American talking to Americans on the TV… Worth a watch! (Thx to Alain)
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
My old friend Pixo of LinuxAstronomy has just sent me an email about their participation to the San Mateo’s “Maker Faire” show, in the south of San Francisco. I’m not used to post about shows but this one really deserves some attention, with 3D-printing, LI-ON powered cars, electronics, robotics, astronomy…! I would have loved to be there. Enjoy the (numerous) pictures.