July 11, 2006

For the next two weeks, keep an eye on picatic, a blog I and Frida will be trying to keep up to date during our stay in Poland. We’ve just got the weirdest ADSL-connection ever working here (the installation process said stuff like “you are required to mobilize your equipment anew” when prompting for a reboot..), so now we only have to find the time and energy to actually sit down and write stuff. Stay tuned!



June 7, 2006

I don't really care who was ultimately responsible for the raid against The Pirate Bay.

People are rioting and raving about gross miscarriage of justice, police state tendencies and the innocent small businesses that were colocating servers.
Sure, everything about the actions of the government and authorities in this affair is questionable from a democratic and legal viewpoint. But.. what else is new? It's not like the bully approach is unexpected or uncommon or anything.

I fully trust the Swedish social democratic government to regularly miscarry justice and get away with it. To keep its citizens in the dark where they're happily ignorant of what's going on around them. A concept that's been fruitfully and more or less flawlessly executed for little less than a century. Irritation among citizens does however build over time, and the Swedish political sphere has organically evolved to cope with it; every fifteen years or so, the system is "rebooted" by allowing the opposition to come to power. Then, during a few years, depending on the current term of office, the public opinion is reverted in favor social democracy. All is forgiven and order is restored. Scandals are forgotten and a clean slate is provided.

Being pragmatic I'm quite sure that unless a very sudden and unlikely change of overall mentality occurs, this is the natural way to go for Sweden. The way of least resistance. There is a fitting miserable harmony to it.

So, what really bothers me about the TPB affair is not the morally and legally questionable nature of the governments's actions – it's the unprecedented idiocy they're displaying from every conceivable strategical viewpoint! How could they not see the consequences? The demonstrations? The 300 percent increase in the size of the "pirate party"? The media interest? How could they even consider taking this kind of risk three months before elections?

That's what worries me. Social democrats who know how to make things go their way I can handle. This heavy, slow moving dinosaur with Göran Persson at the helm is somehow inherently toothless. Stupid, but in predictable way. Armed, but firing shots in slow motion, allowing for dodging in a cliche "Matrix" fashion.

But now what? Has the aged tyrannosaurus rex contracted a prehistoric case of mad cow disease, violently swinging its tail in random directions? This is truly cause for concern.

The only alternative explanation I can think of is that we have reached the next scheduled social reboot. That Göran Persson realizes that everyone needs a break, and is consciously taking actions to ensure that there will be a change of government. It's been twelve years, so statistically it would be time. Maybe we're looking at political harakiri as a preparation for slumber and reincarnation.

It's a long shot, but at least it would make some sense.

Win XP boots on mac?

March 16, 2006

It seems that someone finally managed to get Windows XP running on the new MacBook! A contest to achieve this has been going on since January, and there have been several more or less retarded false alarms along the way. This time it looks like it’s the real deal.

If this is really true, it’s great news. I really like OS X, but as Visual C++ remains my devlopment environment of choice and Windows my primary target platform, I’m dependent on the ability to run XP. My current iBook has served me well for three years, but I haven’t written more than a few hundred lines of code on it. Besides, it’s is getting a little old and doesn’t meet my performance requirements. A dual-booted (or triple-booted!) MacBook would be an ideal solution.

I am curious, however, about the hardware support – without being able to use the latest OpenGL and Direct3d drivers for the MacBook’s Radeon chip, it’s pretty worthless to me.. and will DirectShow be able to talk to the integrated iSight webcam or other video sources connected by FireWire? I’m hoping these issues will be cleared up soon, so I can finally decide what my next laptop will be.

Know your enemy

March 5, 2006

I feel I have to restate a point that’s been made countless times in the software/media-piracy debate. Listen carefully, all you hollywood bigshots and record company moguls reading this…

The main reason people pirate your content is not that they don’t want to pay for it. The main reason is that they don’t want to wait six months to even be able to physically transport themselves to their local video or music store between certain hours and pay for it! This is not an option when your consumer is lying in his couch and wants to consume right now!

The only way to beat piracy is to offer the same convenience than it can offer, or preferably more. You have to change your business models. When your new movie opens at the theaters, make sure it’s already available for payable download on your site. In both high and low quality. From high bandwidth servers. Make sure the payment is for the licence to download a certain movie, and once you’ve paid you can download it as many times as you want. Most people probably won’t do it more than once, anyway.

That’s all you can and should do. You can tell people to not spread the downloaded movies among their friends, but you shouldn’t check up on them any more than you did when people were copying VHS tapes. It doesn’t hurt you that much.

And no, I don’t think that it will hurt the box office very much either. Most people feel that there’s something special about going to the movies, even if they’re the proud owners of badass HTPC setups.

About music – paying lots of money for music is no historical world order that is being disrupted. Your entire industry is about 50 years old, and it probably won’t get much older unless you make some radical changes to your budgets, distribution and general attitude. Beatlemania is over, and nobody’s buying those Ringo coffeemugs anymore. You’re facing critical consumers that have strong opinions about what he or she should pay for music. There’s not much logic in being able to go to the library and consume world-class literature for free, while having to pay $20 regardless of if you want to enjoy Britney’s latest offering or research the historical implications of Chuck Berry’s second album.

Your free lunch is over. The world around you is changing, and any introductory business school course will tell you that this is something you should take very seriously and be prepared to rapidly embrace and adapt to. To quote (with no context whatsoever) my old computer science professor – “If you do not learn this, you will die”.

Mutual dishonesty by agreement

February 5, 2006

We’re all familiar with the romantic image of charming arrogance; the ideal of the well-educated and witty entertainer whose biting remarks and razor-sharp sarcasm add some depth and intellectual exercise to our otherwise dull and down-to-earth conversations. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello world!

February 4, 2006

Yey. I’ve got a blog. Yarr.