Archive for February, 2007

Knowledge must remain free (as in freedom)

Yesterday, I watched Once Upon a Time in America, the last movie by the Italian director Sergio Leone and surely one among the greatest films of all times. The plot was very interesting, so the scene choice. At the end of the ~ 229 minutes of play, I felt satisfied, but rather curious about the name of the young actress that played the role of the little Deborah. Expecially her eyes remined me something familiar, but I wasn’t unable to further dig into my memory.

So, where’s the problem? I fired up Firefox and pointed it to en.wikipedia.org. A quick search led me to the page of the movie. And there was the answer: the mysterious actress was Jennifer Connelly, that I like particularly after her appearances in Requiem for a Dream (I simply love that movie, and I suggest you to watch Pi, the first movie by its director, Darren Aronofsky) and A Beautiful Mind. While I was thinking about the ease with which I satisfied my need of knowledge, a small but very appealing (for me) block of text drew my attention:

PAL editions of the DVD have a running time of 219 minutes (and 48 seconds). This is due entirely to PAL speed-up.

There’s no need to explain how much I was eager to know more about this technical question, so immediately I followed the link. And there I found the explanation (that I won’t write here, because I would use the same words used on the Wikipedia article), simply explained and cleverly displayed by the attached images.

What would have happened if Wikipedia didn’t exist? I wouldn’t have found the name of the actress and I wouldn’t have found that explanation about PAL speed-up. In short, my knowledge would have been limited.

Knowledge is like software, that on the other hand is like sex: it’s better when it’s free (as in freedom).

Add comment February 20th, 2007

Flash 9 stable on Gentoo Linux

Yeah, that’s it!

Finally the package netscape-flash, version 9.0.31.0, is stable on x86 and amd64!

I have used the unstable version for 2 weeks and it worked fine for me: finally I watched to the Flash videos without that annoying lag between audio and video stream. The big drawback is that, sometimes, when closing webpages with embedded Flash objects, mozilla-firefox crashes. 🙁

Package: http://packages.gentoo.org/search/?sstring=netscape-flash
Stabilization bug: http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=167483

Add comment February 19th, 2007

The difference between science and faith

Plenty of philosophers have tried to justify the differences between science and faith. Last-hour research has brought to this simple explanation (click to magnify):

Science and faith

link posted by doctorzoidberg on the #wins channel of irc.autistici.org

2 comments February 18th, 2007

Windows Vista voice recognition failure

Maybe the world is not ready yet for a voice-only interaction between human beings and computers. Let’s see why.

4 comments February 15th, 2007

The meaning of life

It’s 2:13 AM in Turin right now. I’m still awake, compiling stuff and listening to the Dark Side of The Moon album by Pink Floyd.

Half an hour ago a strong wind started to blow on the city. When I give a look through the window, I see the trees beside the street shaken and frightened by the strength of the elements. Nobody dares to walk at this time of the night: tomorrow everyone outside will have something to do, a goal to accomplish, someone to meet, a partner to satisfy. An alarm starts to sound in the distance… it seems like somebody will be tired and sleepy in the morning and will have to blame his neighbor’s absence or the electrician’s incompetence. Or both.

While Roger Waters explores the meaning of time, a window not carefully secured rams, some rooms on my left. I recognize that sound, it is the window in the stairs, giving onto the internal yard of the block. Even if its strikes are loud and frequent, nobody will get out and close it, so I guess it will continue to annoy the dreams of the inhabitants of the building for a long time. I recall that I’ve never seen that window properly shut, even in the coldest day of winter.

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.

This is what keeps me living. This is the meaning of my life.

Add comment February 13th, 2007

CDs cost way too much… RIAA doesn’t think so

Everyone knows that, during the last years, the market price of Audio CDs has grown steadly and constantly. Among other reasons (such as the diffusion of broadband connections), this lead to a significant increase in illegal (as in “not welcomed by music industries“) sharing of MP3 files, etc, etc… We all know the history.

Guess what our friends at the RIAA think about it?

Clearly there are many costs associated with producing a CD, and despite these costs the price of recorded music to consumers has fallen dramatically

or…

CD prices are low compared to other forms of entertainment

Read the full story here: http://www.riaa.com/news/marketingdata/cost.asp

Source: Slashdot

Add comment February 13th, 2007

Relaxing interlude

Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb“, live 1994

EDIT: There was a time in which I used to praise YouTube for its freedom. That period has passed away. For the third time in a few days, a video I was interested to has been removed for suspected copyright infringement. Quoting the error that displays when you try to watch the above video, “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation”. Shame on you.

Add comment February 12th, 2007

Unlucky, stupid, insomniac or whatever

I just can’t find the right word to describe this guy. You must watch the video to understand why.
(I know, unfortunately the preview of the video spoils its end…)

1 comment February 11th, 2007

Fonera

I’ve just received (for free) La Fonera, the social router of Fon (www.fon.com). Accidentally, I let it upgrade its firmware… but I’ll see if it is worth hacking, in the next days…

Fonera

4 comments February 7th, 2007

BumpTop, a new way to think your desktop

While browsing YouTube website, I accidentally found this video, presenting the prototype of a new 3D desktop manager called BumpTop.

The most interesting feature of BumpTop is the usage of real world physics to rule the movement of the icons; like paper sheets or CD-DVD boxes, you can move or even throw them around, just like you would do on your desk. The usefulness of this approach? None, IMO. It’s just eye-candy, a waste of useful resources and CPU power.

A preview of the video follows:

Add comment February 6th, 2007


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