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Government

Journal: On government regulation and lobbying 2

Journal by Ironica

I posted this here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1318879&cid=28869075 and decided I liked it so much, I wanted to save it, and point to it every time someone starts saying that we shouldn't have regulation of blah blah blah.

------------------

In a TRULY free market, the government wouldn't have power to establish currency, protect ownership, extend licensure... all sorts of things that the economy depends on.

The "hypothetical free market" requires perfect information, perfect competition, and perfect mobility. As none of these are feasible to attain, government regulation is required to simulate them or compensate for their lack. For example, legal definitions of what "organic" produce is, and establishment of certifying bodies (which are private enterprises, but have some sort of charter or something from the government that establishes their certification as adequate for usage of the term "organic") help compensate for the lack of perfect information about farming practices. Without them, someone could say "Yeah, my produce is organic!" after spraying it with tons of pesticides, and you wouldn't really have any way of verifying that unless you traveled out to their farm yourself and watched them for a while... or brought your own lab kit to the market.

So, markets that work on the scale we expect them to will always require SOME amount of regulation, and insofar as there is such regulation, there will be disagreements about how that regulation should be put in place. Some methods would favor the producer or the consumer. Hence, there's a business interest in attempting to shape the regulatory process.

I'm all for making lobbying illegal... but that, some say, is over-regulating the market.

User Journal

Journal: Fucked Up Fables: Six Soldiers Of Fortune

Journal by Moraelin
(With apologies to the brothes Grimm.)

There was once a man who was a Jack-of-all-trades; he had served in the war, and had been brave and bold, but at the end of it he was sent about his business, with three farthings and his discharge.

"I am not going to stand this," said he; "wait till I find the right man to help me, and the king shall give me all the treasures of his kingdom before he has done with me."

Then, full of wrath he went along the road and came to a huntsman who was kneeling on one knee and taking careful aim with his musket.

"Huntsman," said the leader, "what are you aiming at?"

"Two miles from here," answered he, "there sits a fly on the bough of an oak-tree, I mean to put a bullet into its left eye."

"Oh, come along with me," said the leader; "the two of us together can stand against the world."

The huntsman was quite willing to go with him, and so they went on till they came to a man standing on one leg, and the other had been taken off and was lying near him.

"You seem to have got a handy way of resting yourself," said the leader to the man.

"I am a runner," answered he, "and in order to keep myself from going too fast I have taken off a leg, for when I run with both, I go faster than a bird can fly."

"Oh, go with me," cried the leader, "three of us together may well stand against the world."

And to make the long story short, he went and gathered a few more companions, each with a grander claim to some super-ability than the others.

Meanwhile, the old king had tried to persuade his daughter to marry the young and respected son of a duke, for he had no sons and was thinking that the future duke might once make a good king too. Unfortunately the young princess had read a few books too many, and was fond of imagining herself as quite the real Amazon. She demanded of her father that if any man is to win her hand, he must best her in a contest of speed, endurance and military skill, like some ancient queen was said to have chosen her husband. And any man entering the contest must be willing to bet his very life on the outcome.

Now the king was fairly open minded for that age, and more than willing to admit that some women could make fine warriors. His people were still remembering the fierce shieldmaidens of the northmen, for example. But his daughter had always been a sickly bookworm, always short of breath, and also a little on the chubby side. The thought of her besting a trained knight was too much.

Wisely, the king said he'll go to his room to think about it, and laughed himself nearly to death into the pillow.

Still, he figured out that it's simpler than arguing with his daughter. So he agreed to send the town cryer to proclaim the decision. Secretly, he also sent a runner to the duke, urging him to send his son with the swiftest horse to enter the contest he cannot possibly lose.

Unfortunately for the duke's son, the ex-mercenary and his merry band were just entering to city as the cryer proclaimed the news. Thinking that with the help of his marvelous companions he cannot lose, he went straight to the king and asked to be tested against the princess.

The king was taken aback by the audacity of a common man to ask to marry a princess, but he realized that his announcement hadn't actually mentioned any restrictions. Fancying himself a man of great honesty and honour, the king agreed to keep his word and let him try, and sent for the princess to decide the test. She chose a race to a far away well, and the first who would make it back with a pitcher full of water would win.

"Easier than I expected," thought our ex-mercenary. "My runner will surely best any man or woman in the land." And asking for a little time to prepare, he went and asked his man with a detachable leg to dress in his clothes and run the race in his stead.

So the court gathered to watch, and at the blow of a horn the two competitors were off... much to the amusement of everyone present. The princess was soon panting and tripping over her long skirt, and making very poor progress. Unfortunately, her opponent was making even poorer progress, limping and cursing and dragging a leg behind him.

By evening, the race was over, with the princess handing her father the pitcher a good ten minutes before her opponent.

The ex-mercenary was aghast, He went to the man with the detachable leg and started screaming at him, "What was that all about?! What did you think you were doing?! Why didn't you run faster than a bird, like you said you would?!"

"Dude, " said the other man to his defense, "I thought you were kidding and I answered in kind. Haven't you seen a wooden leg before? I lost my real leg to a cannonball at the siege of Altdorf."

The conversation would have continued longer, but a squad of the king's guards showed up and took our depressed ex-mercenary to the king.

"Son, " said the king, "I figure you've lost fair and square, and it's only fair that you keep your end of the bargain. You have until morning to make your peace with God, assisted by the castle's priest. But since I like your courage, you shall not hang like a common rogue. You shall be beheaded at dawn, by sword, like a knight or noble would."

"No, father, wait!" intervened the princess who, truth be told, was starting to find the man more handsome than the groom her father had chosen for her. "This man has shown great valour in taking the challenge. Should we not give him a second chance?"

The king rolled that thought around in his head for a bit, then spoke, "That is very chivalrous of you, my daughter, and it would hardly be befitting me to stand in the way of such chivalry. Fine. Choose your next challenge, then, and tomorrow he shall face you again for his life."

This time the princess chose a contest of archery. Our hero politely inquired if he may use a gun, saying that it was a more familiar weapon to him. The princess agreed. With that, the king called the meeting over, and asked the guards to lead the man and his companions to a guest room in the palace.

So this time the ex-mercenary asked his hunter companion to dress like him and go in his stead the next day.

The next day, two large targets were set at a hundred paces away. The two contestants were given a dozen arrows and respectively a dozen bullets, and told to start shooting.

Again the princess did rather poorly, only now occuring to her that reading about ancient Scythian archer women didn't actually count as archery training. Only half of her arrows hit the target at all, and none of them went even close to the bullseye.

Unfortunately our hero's sharpshooter did even worse, with barely two of his shots even touching the target. As the court jester remarked, he did at least get one bull's eye. He actually shot the eye of a bull across the road to the right, dropping him dead on the spot. But since it wasn't on his target, it didn't count.

Again, our ex-mercenary was shocked and he went to berate his huntsman, "What in the Lord's name was that all about?! Didn't you say you could hit a fly in the eye from two miles away?! How could you miss a five foot wide target at a hundred paces?! I could have shot a higher score myself than you and that tomboy put together!!"

"To be honest, " the hunter answered, staring at his own shoes, "that was a joke, and it never occured to me that anyone would take it seriously. I mean, really," he continued as he showed his gun, "this is a smoothbore musket. You said you were in the army, for crying out loud. Two miles? It can't even shoot a ball past two hundred paces. Even at one hundred, as my old captain used to say, the only way to hit a man is if you aimed at another man."

And as the guards were taking him first to the king, and then to the place of his execution, it occured to our hero that maybe he should have tested his employees instead of simply believing any wild claim.

User Journal

Journal: Ways to identify aliens attempting to infiltrate Earth 2

Journal by Ironica

1) They have perfectly ordinary and reasonable first names, but last names that appear to be semi-random assemblages of letters in a vaguely pronounceable order. (These are probably approximate transliterations of their true alien names.)

2) Dislike for pizza and ice cream, but strange affection for haggis.

3) Internet presence appears to date back to 1997, but hits only reference memes from 2005 or later.

When I find out more, I'll let you know.

User Journal

Journal: Fucked Up Fables: The Ass In The Lion Skin

Journal by Moraelin

One day an Ass put on a Lion's skin and proceeded to amuse himself by taking a stroll through the woods, trying to scare all animals he encountered. He brayed at a Wolf in what he thought to be a good enough imitation of a lion's roar, and the Wolf ran away into the bush. He did the same to a Monkey, and the monkey too ran up into a tree. The Ass was proud of himself. At long last he saw a Fox, and proceeded to do his best imitation of a lion's roar at him too.

The Fox however was a lot less than impressed, and answered, "Ho ho ho, if it isn't an ass trying to look important. Congratulations, though, I almost took you seriously until you opened your mouth."

Not minding the Ass's dejected looks much, the Fox continued, "But seriously, don't you have something else to do or someone else to bother? I've worked 60 hours this week so far, and it's only Friday _morning_, and, frankly, I have neither the time nor the mood to entertain you guys." And the Fox trotted along, ignoring the Ass.

The Ass was now depressed and he went to the side to munch on some leaves, and he started drawing doodles in the dirt with a hoof to pass the time and take his mind off the brutal rejection he had just received. He ate and he doodled, but somehow he just couldn't take his mind off it.

Suddenly he heard a voice nearby, "Ah, finally someone with some fashion sense. I was starting to think it's a lost cause..." As the startled Ass rose his eyes, he saw an impressively tall Lion in front of him, eyeing him and his doodles in the dirt.

"I'm toast," thought the Ass, "there's no way a Lion would mistake me for the real thing."

So, in desperation, the Ass started to bray at him. "Syyynergy!" He brayed. "Leverage! TCO! Customer-centric! Industry best-practices!"

"Ah, " brayed the new 'Lion' right back, in the best donkey language, "so you speak management too. This day is looking brighter already. Between you and me, the other candidates are a joke. Have you seen what they wear to an interview? By the way, you _are_ here about the job opening, right?"

"Huh? What job?," replied the bewildered Ass.

"Well, to keep the story short," brayed the 'Lion', "I used to be the manager of this forest clearing, but they promoted me, so now I have to find a replacement. And Tim here," said the 'Lion' pointing to yet another Ass dressed in a lion skin, "is our HR representative. He'll help me pick a good candidate. I guess you haven't sent in a CV either, since you're not here for the interview, but I guess we could bend the rules a bit if you want to take part anyway."

"Uh, ok..." answered the Ass, still not entirely sure what he's walked into.

"I see you brought a sample of your work too," continued the 'Lion', pointing a hoof at the doodles in the dirt. "Nice flowchart. What is it of?"

"Oh, that," grinned the Ass, "nothing in particular. I was just thinking of food, mostly."

"And you drew a good hundred square metres of flowchart just about that? I'm impressed. Reminds me of some of my best work: the corporate regulation and flowchart of how to piss. Admittedly, it was mostly to annoy the Wolf, but I digress. Well, I can't make a definitive commitment yet, so this is strictly off record and non-binding, but I think your chances are good. We'll call you later if we decide to hire you."

User Journal

Journal: The Fanboy Bullshit Form

Journal by Moraelin

In the interest of fanboys and zealots everywhere, and to spare them the minimal thinking effort, I propose the following form. All the options are genuine from genuine posts encountered on the Internet in the last decade. The wording may not be the original, but the spirit hasn't been altered at all.

You are a liar, and the feature/bug (cross out the one that doesn't apply) you talk about doesn't even exist, because:
 
[] I haven't personally seen it happen, therefore it doesn't exist.
[] It only happens once every 1-2 hours on my computer. (But that won't stop me from both it doesn't exist.)
[] ... and even that is my fault. (But that won't stop me from pretending that I'm an expert on what to do on your computer.)
[] Nobody told me about it.
[] It only seems to happen to a couple (of hundreds) of whiners.
[] "Everyone" knows it's not true.
[] "Everyone" knows it can't be true for programs made by _______________ (insert company.)
[] I once worked as Level 1 tech support at an ISP, and had to deal with your kind of idiots every day.
 
You're only claiming that because you're:
 
[] paid by _______________ (insert same, or competitor company) to post that
[] brainwashed by __________________ (insert same, or competitor company)
[] not elite enough to like the right stuff, let me tell you what your tastes should be.
[] a liar.
[] a troll.
[] in denial.
[] against innovation.
[] having mental problems that you confuse for having different tastes than I do.
[] too stupid to use a computer.
 
The problems you encountered -- and which I still claim that it doesn't exist -- are your own damned fault, and can be solved by:
 
[] defragging your computer. (Race conditions and crashes just appear out of nowhere, if you forget to defrag your computer.)
[] activating AA in your drivers. (AA solves rendering artefacts. Broken graphics and glitches are called artefacts too. You do the maths.)
[] buying a new quad-core triple-SLI compressor-cooled overclocked computer. (What do you mean your config matches the recommended specs? If you don't have a computer that cost $5000, you shouldn't be playing games at all.)
[] replacing your motherboard with a compatible one.
[] turning off your firewall and/or antivirus.
[] rebooting your computer. (As any Level 1 tech support guy knows, that's the miracle cure for everything.)
[] learning to play the damned game. (Yes, falling through the ground is just because you're a noob.)
[] stopping being so lame as to do or like other things in a game than I do.
[] saving every 5 minutes in a different slot.
[] using the cheats / external trainer programs. (Hey, it's already playable with that cheat, so stop asking to fix the game.)
[] stopping posting about it! If people find out that the game sucks, there won't be enough players to make mods that fix it!
[] introspection and realizing that only your mental problems and personality deffects prevent you from seeing things exactly my way.
[] packing your computer in the original carton, taking it back to the shop, and telling them that you're too fucking stupid to own a computer.
 
I am an authoritative source on the subject because:
 
[] I have used the program for few minutes.
[] ... on a friend's computer.
[] I have installed it on a computer.
[] Although I haven't yet, I plan to use the program in the future.
[] ... and I have a good feeling about it.
[] I have read about it in another thread.
[] A couple of people have aggreed with me before.
[] I know that _______________ (insert company) would never do that.
[] My user id is lower.
[] I have a gazillion of level 70 characters! On every server!
[] I was in the beta! (But somehow it's just not recorded anywhere.)
[] I could pwn your sorry ass in the game.
[] I could beat you up IRL.
[] My dad probably makes more money than yours.
[] I once worked as Level 1 tech-support for an ISP, and that makes me the expert on all software, hardware and users.
 
Furthermore, I'd like to state that:
 
[] you're a liar.
[] you're a noob.
[] I'm going to mod you down in other threads for disaggreeing with me.
[] someone should mod you down in this thread too, for disaggreeing with me.
[] you'll only have the right to criticize it, when you can make a better program.
[] if you don't like it, fix it yourself.
[] you're too damn impatient. It will rule after they patch it and/or people make mods that fix it.
[] it's people like you who are the problem with society today.
[] you're living proof of what's wrong with education today.
[] we need a goddamn IQ test before letting idiots like you use a computer.
[] you mis-spelled "math" as "maths", therefore you're stupid and uneducated, and nobody should listen to your opinion.
[] I don't even understand what your problem is. Learn to write more than a paragraph, noob.
[] nobody has time to read a whole page about where the bug happens. If you can't say it in 1 sentence or less, it's not worth reading.
[] people should just respect and listen to us who've earned our expertise in Level 1 tech support.

User Journal

Journal: Fucked-Up Fables: Aesop and the Bread Basket

Journal by Moraelin

There was once a slave born in Phrygia in Asia Minor, named Aesop. He wasn't particularly handsome or strong, but he had a particularly remarkable wit. One day, when the caravan and its slaves were leaving for Ephesus, the slave driver divided the burdens into rather unequal shares, and let each slave pick his. Aesop picked the heaviest burden of them all, a large bread basket, about twice as heavy as anything else there. The other slaves called him a fool for it, but Aesop knew that he'd have the last laugh. For, you see, the bread was used to feed the slaves and by the end of the very first day, Aesop had nothing to carry except an empty basket.

He was pretty proud of its wit.

On the third day, the team leader... err... slave driver called a meeting and announced that the caravan owner wasn't satisfied with their progress, and they'd be late in reaching their goal (Ephesus) at this rate. So the tasks would have to be re-evaluated, to match each team member's strengths.

Aesop was given half of Wally's share, who was already limping under the load of four papyrus scrolls, about half a pound each, with prayers for the Temple of Aphrodite in Ephesus. So two of them were dumped into Aesop's empty basket. "Well, that's still not too bad," thought Aesop.

The next day, a couple more slaves complained that they can't keep up the pace, and Aesop got half of their share too. One more day, and he was back to his original load. When trying to complain to the slave driver, Aesop was reminded that he's already shown off his strength, and it's only normal to use each resource to its fullest. As a consolation, he was also given a few canned motivational slogans, like "There's no I in team", which only managed to insult Aesop's intellect.

By the end of the week, Aesop was not just tired, but also hungry. All the energy for carrying that heavy basket had to come from somewhere, and he was already at the limit of his body's reserves. Aesop went to ask the slave driver for a raise in his rations, but was told he should be thankful to still have this job.

"We could use slaves from India instead of you!," he was told, "They carry twice the load for half the rations."

"So what are you going to do, then? Free me?"

"Well, no," said the slave driver, "you're still a slave, you still have to work for your bread one way or another. And you've signed a non-compete clause, so you're not going to work for a caravan any time soon. But we could sell you to a tin mine or to an asbestos weaving shop. I hear they have a life expectancy shorter than a mouse in the temple of Bastet in Bubastis."

Aesop doubted that anyone can carry twice the load for half the rations, but went back to hauling the basket. By the time they reached Ephesus, Aesop was looking disturbingly like a walking skeleton, but they made it in time. The caravan owner and the slave driver gave themselves a bonus for the good job, while the slaves were told again that they should be happy to still have their jobs. Still, they had the rest of the day off.

By the start of the next day, the caravan was assembled to leave again for the next town, this time a nearby town. While the others got their loads, Aesop was taken aside and told the good news that for his performance on this project, he's getting a raise of half a slice of bread a day. Then he was given a large empty sack and a shovel and told to fill it with sand. That would be his load for this trip.

"You've got to be kidding!" said Aesop, "Do they really need sand over there?"

"Well, no, not really," answered the slave driver, "See, they're on a beach anyway. But we'll only make the big trip to Ephesus again next year, and I have to somehow justify keeping the team until then. Otherwise the corporate rules say I'd have to get rid of you here, and get someone else next year. So we'll have to make up some work, so you can still get paid. Well, or at least fed."

Aesop rolled that around a bit in his head, but somehow "at least I get fed" failed to reduce the sting of the fact that he was doing something purely useless and fake.

"Can I at least fill it with leaves or grass, then? I mean, it's not like anyone actually needs the sand."

"I'd love to let you do that," shrugged the slave driver, "but, see, we're paid by the kilo. Plus, I couldn't justify keeping someone with your abilities around, if you'd actually have less workload than someone cheaper."

A couple of years go by like that, and Aesop is starting to look pretty muscular by now, if rather thin. He's even up to two extra slices of bread per day, which isn't bad by slave standards. Or wouldn't be if the workload hadn't doubled in the meantime too.

The team is assembling in Ephesus to pick their burdens, and Aesop is already reaching for his usual shovel and the two empty sacks. As I was saying, the load had increased in the meantime. As he's picking the shovel up, the slave driver approaches Aesop. He's accompanied by two hoplites from the caravan's guard.

"I'm sorry, Aesop, but I'm affraid I'll have to let you go. Sorry. Rest assured it's nothing personal, it's just business."

"You mean, as in, go free?" a broad hopeful grin widens on Aesop's face.

"Well, no," the slave driver shakes his head, "you're still a slave, you still have to work for your bread, and we still have a duty to make the most money out of you one way or another. But we sold you to some guys from Etruria who needed a gladiator. When they saw your muscles, it was an easy sell. Said something about needing a match for some slave from Gaul called 'The Ripper.' Our security people here will accompany you out."

"But... why?" stutters a shocked Aesop. "Have I not been your best slave? Have I not hauled loads that nobody except a mule or Hercules himself could have hauled?"

"Try to understand, Aesop, it really is just business." answers the slave driver. "You also eat more than any other slave, and we have a fiduciary duty to make money for the shareholders. It adds up, and the market is tough. We don't make as much per transport. Management has already promised to reduce costs by firing the most expensive personnel and replace them with cheaper slaves from India. Which reminds me, before you leave, show that new Indian guy where you usually get sand from."

User Journal

Journal: Putting one's money where their OS is. 7

Journal by Ironica

Recently, as I was rebuilding my computer after some sort of horrific malfunction, I found myself looking for Windows XP cracks. Our Windows 2000 burned CD doesn't work properly, and I didn't want to burn an authentication tick on my laptop WinXP disc. So I searched, and came up with nothing particularly useful. I ended up installing an Ubuntu bundle, and so far so good. Good thing we quit playing WoW again.

But as I browsed, I came across a message board discussing how to crack XP, with several people posting "Gah thieves! Just buy it already!" I found myself wanting to post back (though I refrained, having insufficient desire to create a new account on a random message board and bump a thread that's been dead for months). I wanted to say, "You know, I don't want to crack XP because I'm cheap. I want to crack it because I'm BOYCOTTING MICROSOFT."

So then I was thinking, how could I prove it? I mean, I'm morally opposed to giving MS any money, but how does one tell that this is truly my motivation, and not simply an excuse to make me feel better about "stealing" software? And then I hit upon the solution: donate the cover price of the pirated software to an Open Source project of my choice!

So, when I get PowerPoint back up and running somewhere, I'll find out how much it's "supposed" to cost, and donate that money to... something. Mozilla, probably, or Ubuntu (it's very shiny!). And I encourage all 1.5 of the people who read this to do the same, for any pirated MS software they are running.

Handhelds

Journal: Worst tech of 2006: Nokia 770?

Journal by Eugenia Loli
Some stupid editor over at C|Net put the Nokia 770 in the same bag as some bad hardware products currently selling out there. He wrote:

"This thing, it surfs Internet. You want to make phone call? You can't make phone call. You like Ethernet? No Ethernet. You get Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is nice. No wires! You like slow load times? Yes? It is good for that."

Hmm, this guy obviously has no idea about the PDA/gadget market. Why would anyone expect this (mobility-aware) tablet to do ethernet? And why would you expect it to do phone calls? Just because it comes from Nokia? So, if another department of Nokia started making dildos that guy would expect to also make phone calls with them too? The point of this product is to complement Nokia's phones (by surfing via Bluetooth+GPRS), not to compete with them.

"You like battery that lasts more than three hours? It does not have one. Nice screen, though."

The Nokia 770 has low standby times (because it doesn't support real standby), but when used continously, it can deliver over 3 hours of WiFi-activated usage and over 5 hours when WiFi is off. It still ain't as good as some high-end PDAs, but it ain't as bad as some other PDAs either (e.g. the Lifedrive which delivers less than 2 hours of Wifi usage).
Handhelds

Journal: The Future of Palm PDAs is VoIP 4

Journal by Eugenia Loli

It is not a state secret as to how doomed the PDA market is. The market has moved to another level and business people who needed PDAs now buy phone-PDAs (aka smartphones). Here's the problem though: for companies that they don't do cellphones or their main market is PDAs this is a big problem because they see their market vanishing quickly. This is why a [true] rumor says that DELL is currently building a PocketPC phone too. HP, DELL's biggest PDA competition, has moved to PPC phones too.

But the big question is: where does this situation leaves Palm?

Palm already has 2 active smartphone models out there selling right now, but their main bulk of sales are STILL their PDAs. The PDAs that their sales decline overtime.

On two seperate recent occasions where Palm execs were interviewed, they made mention of a mysterious "new category of product" that they will add between their existing PDA/Lifedrive and smartphone product lines.

I am pretty sure that this new category is nothing but PDAs (of the Tungsten TX caliber) that have VoIP functions. I mean, think about it. VoIP is taking off, plain PDAs are dying, and Palm simply needs a shot of adrenaline to keep their product line still relevant to today's business needs. Sure, it's still the same wolf in a new dress but the relevance of VoIP today can help that product line to at least not become obscure.

Such a VoIP PDA is _very easy_ to implement by someone like Palm. All they need to add to a PDA like the Tungsten TX is two more buttons left and right for "receive" and "hang up" a phonecall, a microphone and a SIP application that can be written by their software staff (I hope not ;) or get bought/ported from a third party company. With a retail price at around $300 VoIP makes such a product both an excellent PDA and a business IP phone. The future of Palm, Inc. is phones and so it makes sense to grandually move their entire line to this market, being IP or Cell phones.

Now, if they could also replace their ugly font with a nicer, smaller, anti-aliased font, slightly color the application buttons' interior with a soft gray color and add A2DP/AVRCP/printing support to their Bluetooth stack, PalmOS 5.5 would rock and look more friendly to the eyes. ;)

Communications

Journal: I had a dream....

Journal by Eugenia Loli
I had a very weird off-topic dream this morning, but out of the blue, I dreamt of the Apple iPhone. And it was not at all as I imagined it in my "concious" self. My unconcious self saw it as a white iPod-sized laptop form-factor gadget. When the lid is closed, you are exposed to the iPod look, exactly as the iPod Video looks like today. When opened, you are presented with a larger widescreen on one side and a full qwerty keyboard on the other. So it's a bit like Danger's Sidekick phone, but better.

I guess, in a few months we will know if I am a psychic or not. :)
Communications

Journal: Best non-smartphone today (out of Japan)

Journal by Eugenia Loli
The 6280 is an amazing phone. The Nokia Series 40 environment has come a long way from the days that it was unusable. This phone makes it difficult to distinguish between smartphones and non-smartphones today. Only things missing from this phone is A2DP/AVRCP support, a standard audio jack and maybe a conversion application. Other than that, it's got the full monty.
User Journal

Journal: Top Muslim clerics: Convert must die

Journal by Eugenia Loli
"Senior Muslim clerics are demanding that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces."

Religious fanatics get on my nerves. No wonder countries with many such fanatics in them are still in the 'middle ages' and get dispaired with wars all the time. People must open their minds and get out of the vicious cycle.
User Journal

Journal: Greek drivers

Journal by Eugenia Loli
The Science Channel showed today a nice documentary on the building of the Via Egnatia road that it's currently under construction in northern Greece. The documentary was spot on and the guy who put it together was very clueful (they even showed the road shrines that are put when someone dies in that spot). Towards the end it showed real footage of very dangerous driving in the Greek roads, and correctly noted that Greeks are the worst drivers in the european union.

The documentary correctly identified the overtaking, speed and lane-disrespect as the most important reasons for all the 22,000+ accidents that happen each year in Greece. And it did remind me how my brother wouldn't stay on his lane when we visited Athens last Summer. The reason for that is because all roads in our home in northern Greece are single-laned (one lane going towards one side, and one lane for the other side). Even if my brother is a very young person, he doesn't know how to behave on a multi-laned road. He doesn't know that he must stay on his lane instead of switching from one to another all the time for no good reason and without using the flash. Athenians are not much better either. So while we can say that Greeks are bad drivers, the conditions of the current roads have an effect in their performance too.

It was also nice to see my place in the US TV. They showed Ioannina and Metsovo, which are pretty close from where I am coming from and have visited a number of times.
User Journal

Journal: BenQ confirms iPhone?

Journal by Eugenia Loli
As I predicted a few months ago, Apple is working on a phone. A BenQ exec pseudo-confirmed it today when he revealed that this is common knowledge among Taiwanese hardware part companies who have been contracted by Apple to deliver the goods. Additionally, rumors say that the new iPod will have stereo Bluetooth support.

Update: Just for kicks, here's my iPhone mockup.

All great ideas are controversial, or have been at one time.

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