Archive for January 29th, 2007

Niki Taylor: I was slandered by E! show

“Niki Taylor filed a federal slander lawsuit against E! Entertainment for alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress with its profile of the model in the new series “Blvd. of Broken Dreams.” […] “My life is far from a ‘boulevard of broken dreams,’ ” Taylor said in a statement.”

I don’t watch E!’s garbage, but it was late night last week when it was left ON in the background while I was typing a review on my Powerbook. I will have to agree with the lawsuit’s claims that the documentary was a bit unfair. While nothing was blown out of proportion in terms of the history of Niki Taylor’s life, her career is indeed far from a “Blvd. of Broken Dreams”. She was always a successful model, even during her hardships with pain relief drugs (because of her near-fatal car accident). While she does have a life that could easily become a tele-movie or a book, she is not a failed professional, but a very successful one instead and one of the top-20 super-models of the ’90s (I’ll blog about that soon).

The second part of the documentary was about Leif Garrett. Now, that guy is a total drug-addicted loser and indeed he deserves to be in the “Blvd. of Broken Dreams” documentary as an once-was-never-again star. But putting Niki Taylor at the same 30 minutes with Leif Garrett was asking for trouble.

Bed side manner

I always disliked Gaim on Windows. It traditionally sacked lots of RAM and it was very prone to a crash. But with the betas of the upcoming 2.0.0 version, things got better. It now crashes less often and so the bugs that are left are less critical.

I wrote to Sean, Gaim’s author and maintainer, with a small list of things to be added, most importantly:

1. An option to not show the Buddy List in the Taskbar.
Most IM apps support this. And the Linux version of Gaim supports this too via a plugin. But the Windows version does not have this luxury.

2. Remember IM window positions on the screen.
I even told him that I could live with less: a global setting for all IM windows that gets its value from the last opened window instead of a per-contact-window-position setting that’s more difficult to implement (and then tile windows only if a new window pos up on top of an older one).

Right now, the current scenario is rather gloomy: I click on a contact and the window opens on position 0,0 in the screen. I move the window where I want it to be. We finish our chat, I close the window. I click again on the same or other contact and the window opens again at 0,0. Usability feels so ’90s.

And this is not to mention other basic problems like a new conversation window stealing focus from your current application (it just happened right now, as I was typing this, the cursor jumped on the second screen and focused the chat window!), or the fact that if you copy/paste a lot of text in a chat window the application does not tell you that your text did not arrive on the other side. I am not talking about bugs here, or about video and audio support and otherworldly features. I am talking about application behavior. These are all problems that were common in pretty much all IM apps about 4-5 years ago! But things progressed. Gaim hasn’t. It still plays catch up after so many years on basic functionality and behavior issues, let alone real features like video support and more compatible file sharing!

After a long conversation today, it is pretty clear that he is not interested in adding the two features above and moreover he did not have the courtesy to at least let Daniel, the Windows maintainer, to decide if these features are needed for the Windows users in particular or not. He eventually tried to put the workload of the features asked to other projects and then he replied to me with a rather bone-headed and subsequently insulting way:
You should configure your window manager to put conversation windows where you want them.“, and when I asked him “and how do you do that exactly on Windows Sean?” he replied “http://support.microsoft.com/”.

The guy does not get it. He now gets paid to do Gaim under Google’s payroll, and while he still has lots of freedom in the app’s decision making, he should also think more broader in terms of user support and features rather than Gaim as the hobby he used to do when he had no job. Of course, this is still his app and I respect his freedom over it, but I also have the freedom to continue using Trillian (even if it deprives me from GTalk, Jabber and SIP Presence), so I guess we’re good.

IM business opportunity

There is a business opportunity out there right now. There is not a single one IMPS service available (free or commercial). The previous such services were YamiGO and SmartVAS, but both stopped working during the past year and they are now unmaintained.

IMPS for mobile phones is a service that utilizes the Jabber server as a backend, and then feeds IM functionality to mobile phones that support the WirelessVillage (WV) protocol. Via the jabber transport feature, YamiGO had added support for Y!, MSN, AIM and ICQ too. If a new such service comes to life, probably they should also add Jabber and GoogleTalk support too. The idea is that the company takes care only of the server part and the translation between the several protocols and Jabber and then, between Jabber and WV. The company will have to not take care of the client part, except for device testing to ensure compatibility.

The client comes built-in on most phones: phones that support the WirelessVillage protocol are all Nokias (S40 and S60), most Motorolas, and all SonyEricssons. Some specific models of Samsung and LG also come with a WV IM client.

It is very weird that such a service does not exist, because these *native* IM clients on these phones go largely unused by users. Sure, some users have bought J2ME apps to do IM’ing, but usually, these java apps suck goats compared to the phone’s native IM app — plus the good J2ME ones cost money.

Chit chat

I don’t really know anyone in our apartment complex. I am generally difficult to make new acquaintances (neither I feel the need to) but thing is, there are not many interesting people here so I never bothered to get to know them. However, I have noticed the family next door in few occasions, mostly because of their child who would come and ring our door bell for no reason.

Fast forward to today. Our… toilet got broken (water was not pumping in) so the resident plumber comes in to fix it. Very nice chap, but hey, he does like to chit chat: “So, you got new neighbors now… the previous family left… they divorced… yeah, didn’t do well together… the woman moved to LA to find a new job“.

Thanks God I don’t frequent hairdressers either. They don’t stop yammering from the beginning to end. I now cut my own hair so I can avoid them.

PDA sold

I just sold my old Toshiba PDA for $130. I would have sold it for $150 if I knew where the bloody box was… It’s a mess in my office, I can’t find anything anymore…