Archive for February 28th, 2008

Undocumented APIs

Oh, shut up. Slashdot posted this story about Apple being “evil” because they use undocumented APIs on Safari. That’s not evil, that’s NORMAL. In the Agile software development this is important, otherwise you will be having a past generation code for your browser to ship with your next generation OS.

Be, Inc. was doing that all the time too. Many parts of the OS were built using undocumented APIs that were not too stable to become public at the time, or that were simply too low level. The Be scrollbar and the Be Terminal were such examples.

I am sure MS does the same on Windows.

1 percent of U.S. adults behind bars

For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report.

How the hell is this possible? I lived in Greek towns for over 20 years (where everyone knew everyone else), and I’ve met or knew from afar about 6,000 people overall. From all these people, I only heard of THREE people getting time in prison. One guy in the ’70s (drugs), one guy in the ’80s (the dumbass killed someone), and a guy in the ’90s (drugs). I mean, this new report shows that 1% of the Americans were in prison in the first month of 2008! I know only of 3 Greek folks from my town who went to prison spanning 3 decades!

I can only say that now that I live in USA, I am glad that I live in the the Silicon Valley area. Truth is, the west bay has very low criminality, as most people here are engineers with good salaries, people who don’t need to go steal or get violent. Elsewhere in the US though, things are not so rosy, indeed. I don’t think I could handle living in NY or LA, to be honest.

No wonder cop shows are so popular in this country. People need to feel some virtual re-assurance that the system works.

The emotional state of things

I have a past that should have been kinder to me. A past that I can’t get over with.

I realized something about my husband though. He has no past that makes him sad and depressed when he remembers it. Well, you could argue that he never opened up to me to tell me about it, but I don’t think that’s it. I think that he has lived an early life where he had balance and understanding at all times — unlike mine. JBQ is joyful, happy, healthy and if there’s only one thing he would like to do more is to visit more places. That pretty much describes his psyche.

I, on the other hand, I am depressed most of the time, angry about my past, angry about my present where I am sick most of the time and I can’t join my husband to visit more places, or work, or have a child. Everything seems negative to me, until proven positive.

You could say that I am dragging him down. Or, you could say that he brings me more balance (and he has). But what do I give back to him besides love? He claims that this is all he wants from me, but is it really enough? I do hope it is, because if it isn’t, I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel for me. I would end my life if I lose him. He is my link to this world. My everything.

How to end piracy

We rarely buy video games anymore (we already bought well over 250 games for PSOne/PS2/PS3/PSP/GameCube/Wii/GameboyAdvance). These days we are using Gamefly to rent games. We are very happy with their service so far.

Netflix works incredibly well for us as well. Two physical discs are shipped each time, at an unlimited rate, and we pay just $10 per month! This usually means a maximum of 20 movies per month, although we usually don’t do more than 5-7. When using their online viewer, it’s unlimited viewing — as many movies as your bandwidth allowance from your ISP allows. I finished watching “Earth 2” this way, by watching it online. Worked really well. Like with the games, it has also stopped us from buying DVDs.

The interesting thing with Netflix is that because it’s so easy getting access to a movie or a show, that you don’t think of ripping the DVD and keeping it locally. It just doesn’t cross your mind anymore, the service is that transparent. So if Netflix and Gamefly work so well, save money, get us what we want, and it takes away any conscious need for piracy, why not do the same for music?

A flat rate of $5 per month (let’s face it, creating music is cheaper than creating a movie or even a good video game). A world-wide RIAA-endorsed online service (it would be best if iTunes itself changes to become it) that allows you to download unlimited 192kbps MP3/WMA/AAC/OGG non-DRM music. P2P among members is now legal (in fact, it’s endorsed, as it would save bandwidth to RIAA/iTunes). Pay an additional flat fee of $20 per year and you get the ability to be sent physical CDs (when requested) that you can then rip yourself in FLAC or other lossless codec if you want — or pay $2 and keep the CD you were sent. Eventually, physical media will disappear anyway. A fine idea is also “bulk licensing” for education institutes, no more school penalizing.

Sure, this might mean less money for the RIAA wolves, and artists will have to tour more to make more money and the most successful ones would negotiate better cuts from RIAA, but you know, times are changing and if they are to keep any potential customers, they have to come up with a model that saves time and money for the consumers. And honestly, seeing how well Netflix and Gamefly works, the model would do good for music too. I don’t believe that profit will be marginalized that much, because given the fact that most people don’t buy more than 4-5 CDs per year, that’s already the price you pay for the subscription model, so it all evens out.

Entertainment corporations keep hanging in the old ways of doing business. A model that just doesn’t work anymore. Music can still sell, but it has to become easier to get in bulk so it gives the feeling to the consumer that it’s free and unlimited.

Pan’s Labyrinth

I have trouble watching non-English speaking movies. I can barely stand Greek in movies (even when I used to live in Greece). And yet, “Pan’s Labyrinth“, entirely in Spanish, came out so natural for me. The movie was so captivating that even if it was shot in Klingonese it would be enjoyable. One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. A fairy tale definitely NOT for kids. Watched it last night via Netflix’s online player.