Computer Stuff: October 2003 Archives

Piracy's Bad Mmkay...


Lovely article on the difficulties of indoctrinating something wrong on young people who know better

Louis has a webcam


Louis has finally capitulated and gotten a webcam. Happy Day. Come and see what Louis looks like.

Longhorn 4051 Leaked


If you're a geek, you might want to have look at the section in my forum for registered users. You might find a lovely surprise - but only if you're too lazy/n00b to know better where to get this stuff from.

Legacy Radio


I find it intriguing that there are times when the intention is to support legacy-ness not for technical or economic reasons per se, but rather for the sake of feeling and experience.

The latest hour of Showtalkers was initially posted as streaming only (on - you could stream it as if it was "live", so that it cycles every say 45 mins or however long the show is.

The whole idea of KSSX is basically as a radio station like other (I don't think all) internet "radio stations" - it plays content as if you were tuning in with an analog tuner.

I mean one of the most powerful or useful features of "internet radio" is that it can be on demand - if you "miss" a show, you can just go at any time and listen to it from start to finish, or if you aren't in time at the top of the hour, you can just stream/play from the beginning as if you were there at that time.

I wonder at the thinking behind it, but one of the motivations I can see is that it's like programming real time shows, so that if you're waiting for a show you listen/watch the channel/station until it's time for the show, or you keep listening/watching after your favorite show is on, therefore attracting the audience to your other content.

The other attraction I suppose is that if you had ads (KSSX doesn't seem to, at least showtalkers doesn't) there's no choice but to sit through them.

I suppose it's just the dialectical nature of my attitude to technology that I find it difficult to feel indulgent/retrograde/myopic to that kind of rehashing of past paradigms. Just to be clear it's not the economics of it that bothers me - the desire for profit of promotion, rather the unwillingness to translate that economic motivation along with the content to the new medium of delivery.

Tell the Truth


Hopefully this is the last post about Longhorn, unless the stuff from PDC is really that worthy of comment.

Have a look at this comment in response to some Microsoftie posting more about the community project that's going on. I just wish they could be more honest about what they (MS) are doing, if they could at least say, well, open source developers have something in what they do - it's intelligent of them to create a community - and despite the fact that we're not too sure about the quality of the products this produces, they do help to create people who are happy with the product and have a place where they can be heard about what's wrong.

I'm getting the feeling that I might want to get my hands on the pre-beta to play with, when it's released, hopefully the shipping isn't expensive, or that the versions they distribute online aren't bad.

What I don't understand is why Microsoft is so rabidly reactionary towards the Open Source Community.

When you are in a position of power, when you are sincerely assured that you are right - that is when you tend to be able to resort to civility, gravitas and self-assurance. You don't get reactionary unless you feel really threatened.

Microsoft is in a position of prominence, it should not behove it to stoop to the level that people in the OSC can be accused of. It should be able to take/ask for/act on criticism with aplomb and a sense of not-overbearing responsibility.

The fact that it does not can mean a number of things. First, that they've succumbed to a kind of paranoia, where everything around them is a threat and the people criticising them are stupid (they are patently not).

Second they may have come to believe that they are being criticised for things that are not really wrong/their fault - an extremely dangerous path to go down, since it leads you to miss the truth. People can hate you for no reason, true, but how can you assume that?

Third, they are feeling so threatened by the OSC that they're pissing in their pants and flailing when they should be maintaining an image that the OSC cannot, perhap are unwilling to, emulate - be professional, be stable, keep the poker face while being convincing that customer loyalty matters. Saying that OS software sucks is not the same as saying that MS software is good.

I suppose what I'm not doing too good a job of making clear is that what the Economist says here about the relationship between America and Europe applies very readily to MS and the OSC. Look through the article and substitute the respective terms. If I'm really that cack-handed, this is the last line of that article: "From a true leader, a little effortless superiority is called for."

And if I was totally unmitigated in my support for MS, that's what I would/should be saying.

I Hate Microsoft/Longhorn


I've been looking at the "discussion" over at Longhornblogs.

Without going into technical detail, especially since a lot of it is developer level stuff anyway, the dynamics of the discussion is no end of interesting.

I'll try not to be hideously snarky about these people's understanding of a) logic b) economics c) writing.

The one who put up the original post is Robert Scoble, and his post reads (especially in context of the responses it recieves) as differing magnitudes of insufferable.

There's a certain amount of gall in the fact of what they're blowing their own horn about.

Let's just be clear about this, self-deprecation is not the mark of humility, not the mark of humour, not the mark of self-deflation, not the mark of supplication.

The general tone of the post is one of presumption: *everyone* will want to tell us we suck, because we are the be-all and end all. Asking for criticism and then expecting it in it's droves is an oblique way of saying the world revolves around you.

There is no real sense of "there are things deeply wrong, we are worried, help us out because we don't quite know what we're doing". First it's a kind of fishing, "oh it's so bad" "oh no it's not that bad, this and that just need a bit of work". Second, "we're so great and well meaning that how could you not cream in your pants at the thought of making us feel better about what we do".

Just the hyperbole with which he characterises the false expectation he has of how bad the criticism will be bespeaks only a very petty extent to which they are willing to be corrected. You're going to tell us this sucks, that blows - they are making the complaints already sound really trivial. It's the kind of expectation that the uncriticised has of what criticism will be like - they haven't a clue as to how or whether people will react.

That said, the idea of having a Longhorn that's actually good isn't a bad idea, and what they're doing in itself isn't horrible, it's just the way they do it reflects their naivete towards how and why people dislike their products. Telling yourself that people dislike you just because you are no. 1 (and being shy about that position even as you perpetuate your own paranoia about it) doesn't allow yourself to address what is really fundamentally wrong with what you're doing/making.

As far as I know, the only good (?)/ justifiable monopoly is a regulated one which they postively would never want. Don't pretend competition isn't good just because you wish it wasn't. If you want to insist on appealing to the market, where you are paid for your labour/knowledge, you have to respect that that has to occur in a competitive environment, because if money is the only objective (which is what paid software people predicates itself on), in a monopoly the only thing needs to get better is how to get the money.

In terms of how panicked they might feel and how hard they work, I have deep suspicions as to how much Orwell's maxim rings true - the higher you are on the food chain, the more delusional you are about the threat that others pose, the more you believe your own spin. This hardly sounds like a healthy competitive psyche at work.

Thank god blogs aren't expected to be *too* considered and can be expected to peter out and meander a bit. There are sometimes reasons why developers should have people who speak for them - communication is not something that anybody and everybody can do.

It's your refresh rate Su-lin


In order to change your refresh rate, you go to display properties (right click on desktop, properties) - go to the "settings" tab - click on "Advanced" - look for the monitor tab - set the refresh rate to 85 Hertz. Happy Su-lin.

If that doesn't work, you can try re-installing your graphics driver - if I remember your family computer correctly.

It'll be much better for you eyes.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Computer Stuff category from October 2003.

Computer Stuff: September 2003 is the previous archive.

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