Archive for June 23rd, 2006

Music and its effect on me

There are some songs that stand out so much more than the rest… Some of them, I just love them for their rhythm and melody (e.g. “Gimme Gimme Gimme” by ABBA or “Unchained melody” by the Righteous Brothers), for others I like them for their lyrics (”What it’s like” by Everlast or “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong or “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem) and some few ones, for the memories and thoughts they bring me. And I think that this third kind has the strongest effect. Here’s a sample…

* “Schism” by Tool. This song instantly transports me to torture chambers of the middle ages. It’s creepy. And a great song too. Too bad that iTunes does not carry it at all so I can’t link it for you, but I found a RealPlayer link on the web.
* “With or Without you” by U2. The video clip is exactly the kind of “picture” I usually have when I am dreaming.
* “I’ll fly for you” by Spandau Ballet. Reminds me of the times I’ve been in love as a young teenager in the late ’80s.
* “It feels so good” by Sonique. I kept listening to this song when I was living in UK and my JBQ was in USA. Thousands of miles apart, both feeling so lonely…
* “California Dreaming” by Mamas and the Papas. For some reason this song transports me back in my childhood, running in the planes of my village chasing my hens. :)
* “Get Together” by Madonna. Amazing atmosphere and the video-clip was spot on. This song transports me into some dark scifi/space comics of the ’70s. Huge starships, large moons in the background…

Madonna - Get together

* “Waiting for Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez. And here I am, in the mid-90s, waiting for Saturday night to go clubbing with my friends.
* “Boulevard of broken dreams” by Green Day. Reminds me that… disaster can strike at any time…
* “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer. Can’t keep my feet in the same place…
* “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. Reminds me of how inadequate religions are.
* “Across the Stars” by John Williams. The ultimate theme for a forbidden love.

Madonna - Get together

Of course, I love many more rock, pop, dance, new age and alternative pieces (only most of hiphop/rap, jazz and modern country music gets on my nerves). But the above ones seriously get under my skin…

MS Exec: Linux No Threat To Windows Desktop

“The loosely coupled model of development prevents Linux from being successful on the desktop. […] The magic of open-source software is not the software. It has nothing to do with the code at all. Most open-source code is terribly inferior to commercial software code,” Hilf said. “The magic is the community and how you interact and participate in a community and make development transparent enough that the community believes in you and trusts you.”

The guy is right on the money on what he said. He has his screws screwed tight. I was surprised to see that many of the OSNews readers (who are largely OSS advocates) actually agreed with him too. I wrote something similar of this sort a few days ago too.

Mugshot, Part III

And so I was given a Mugshot account and tried it out all this week. The Windows client is very rudimentary atm and it has numerous bugs: it only loads IE (even if Firefox is your default browser), you can’t quit it without killing it, and each time you type a character on the chat window a huge memory leak takes place (from 15 MBs to 65 MBs of memory consumption, and counting).

But these are easy-to-fix issues. They are not the crux of the problem. The real problem is that Mugshot is not a useful application. It does not solve an existing user problem. It creates yet another virtual world where users can be part of Groups and have Friends. It is a lot like Orkut, but without many of Orkut’s features. Instead, Mugshot uses existing desktop applications and adds extra value to them. For example, if you are running the Mugshot applet and you happen to listen to music from one of the 2-3 supported music apps, then the title/artist will show up on your Mugshot page. Or, if you share with the World or your Group a web link, then this opens in a web browser.

Basically, think of Mugshot as an *engine* that has a social network background but uses third party desktop apps to extend its functionality. In the future, “plugins” that hook on existing desktop apps will extend its functionality further.

The idea of Mugshot being an engine is not a bad one (from an engineering point of view). The implementation is what bothers me though, and I talked to Havoc about it a few days ago. Basically, having Mugshot creating a brand new world is a bad idea. Almost no one cares to be part of a new Orkut, or a new Friendster or a new mySpace. Instead, Mugshot should have been developed as an addon to Jabber, right from the beginning. Mugshot and its third party app-hooks functionality can only be kinda useful to an existing world, where users have already established their friends.

I mean, think about it: who the hell cares if user “Eugenia” listens to Guns’n’Roses? Or if Eugenia currently watches “24″? Or if Eugenia currently reads Engadget? Nobody cares, and nobody should care. However, it is a tiny bit more interesting if that person is actually already on your IM list. If someone exists on your IM list, then this person is most probably, your [real] friend. And then, sure, just for our information, it would be kinda interesting to know what our friend listens or watches or reads at any given time. Mugshot could work as an extension of the “away” messages that some IM clients allow you to edit and share.

Jabber/GTalk would have been the best target, as they are open source and very successful already. Adding social features to an already established IM engine it would make youngsters drool (and especially if someone else adds VoIP SIP and Video to Jabber it would make it more useful to us, older users). But in fact, Mugshot represents everything that is wrong with Linux right from its inception: open source developers don’t look at the bigger picture and how to work with other devs in order to make their open source case more acceptable, but instead they re-invent the wheel, constantly and surely.

Even if Havoc –as the manager of the project– see the light and turn the whole Mugshot thing to be part of Jabber, how the current Mugshot users are going to migrate to it? Some of us already have Jabber accounts, but some don’t. And how easy would be to migrate existing Mugshot users to the Jabber login credentials? In other words, it won’t be easy, even if it’s doable. I just hope that something like this happens soon.

In conclusion, we don’t need yet another stinking virtual social network. What we need is interoperability, extendability on an existing network and fewer user accounts in our lives.