Archive for August, 2009

The 7 sins of windows 7

Free software foundation has launched a campaign against the upcoming windows 7 operating system, listing 7 of its “sins” that should be considered before using it. Windows 7 is destined to dominate the world computing for the next years, so people should really be informed of what this will mean.

The sins listed are :

1. Poisoning education

2. Invading privacy

3. Monopoly behavior

4. Lock-in

5. Abusing standards

6. Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)

7. Threatening user security

Quoting from the site:

“Microsoft is up to their usual tricks again — only this time, they’re also inserting artificial restrictions into the operating system itself. While not the first time they’ve done this, this is the first release of Windows that can magically remove limitations instantly upon purchasing a more expensive version from Microsoft.”

If this is true, it is crystal clear that the software industry is no longer governed by free market laws. You cannot pull tricks like that if there is a chance that you will lose money or market share. The operating system market is a Microsoft Monopoly for decades now, and rumors of such tactics have been heard before. But lately, windows have been faced with increased competition from Apple and Linux.

However, the much needed competition in the operating system market will come to a full stop if MS is allowed once more to illegaly use its monopoly power to keep users tied to their products.

Feudalism in 21st Century

There are many similarities between the modern society and feudalism. Simply susbstitute kings and dukes with banks and you will get a pretty medieval picture.

In the bad old days the simple people would have to work for all their lives for a master who would provide them with land and a house to live in. In exchange the peasants would give a large portion of their income to the landlord.

Do you see the similarities? The bank loans you money to buy a house, a house that you litterally have to work all your life to repay.

Of course you own the house. That’s something, right ? Well, not really. That simply means that you also get to pay all the corresponding taxes and accept all the risks involved. If  your house gets demolished, you still owe the bank the money, and you have no house. And keep in mind that after 30 years, when the mortgage will be paid (in triple at least) the house will be old and not of much value. Your children will still need a new house.

Am i missing something here ?

Dogs intelligence

According to the telegraph dogs are as intelligent as 2-year old children. They can understand up to 250 words, they can understand gestures, they can add 1+1 and they can deceipt you in purpose. I have a dog, and somehow i knew all of this. As anyone who has a dog already knows, they are very easy to communicate with as they have a very human-like intelligence,  apart from all this sniffing around of course. Still it’s nice to have proof 🙂

wikipedia community

As the guardian reports,  wikipedia is now only adding 1300 articles per day, as opposed to 2200 a couple of years back. This can be normal though, as there are obviously less things left to write about. But the article also points out a much more important thing, that the dynamics of the community are changing. The few elite editors are slowly becoming a closed class, where a newcomer has trouble entering.  This is a common problem to all communities. The elders don’t have any respect for the newbies as they expect them to devote the same amount of effort to the project as they did. This is to be expected and the newbies, well, they just have to deal with it.

However, wikipedia is not like other open source projects. It bears a power beyond measure, and it’s not a question if the project will go on. Even without up to date information, wikipedia will always be an invaluable resource for information. And it’s beacuse of that power that it can be a target for editors with a very specific agenda. So how can a free encyclopedia remain objective ?

The short answer is that it cannot. There is no way for wikipedia to contain all aspects of a historical event. There is no way to be absolutely right on anything you say about cats. Wikipedia is not and will never be an authoritative source. It’s extremely valuable, extremely informative, but not authoritative. It has without a doubt a much less percentage of junk and misinformation than the rest of the internet. It is a huge and extremely well done project, and the world is a little better today because of it.

The future of European Union

European union is aging fast -and i am speaking demographically-  and the future doesn’t seem so bright.  An austrian toy manufacturer was quoted saying

“The toy trade is slowly dying across central Europe. There are not enough children any more”

On the other hand of course the health industry is alive and kicking, enjoying a golden era.

What are the reasons for the low birth rate of developed countries ?

There are many physical and metaphysical explanations for the low birth rate, however the bottom line is this: having many kids, somehow seems to be more trouble than its’ worth. The typical european has no more farms and cottages for their kids to work, no more family businesses that need extra hands. The europeans work all day and a kid is just another 8-hour of work every day for them. Something is really wrong with this picture, but i’m sure that if large companies had the oportunity to breed workers some of them might just try it out.