Archive for November, 2007

Tak medielicens, nu ved jeg hvem jeg er

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Licenslovgivning

“Advarsel”: Dette er jo et politisk indlæg – oh well, nu er valgkampen jo ovre, så man kan jo tillade sig at tale politik igen 😉

Jeg føler mig hensat til fiktionens verden, takket være et brev jeg modtog lørdag:

[…] Erhvervsvirksomheder med mindst én ansat og offentlige institutioner skal betale medielicens […]

[…] Hvis adressen skal tilmeldes, kan i indsende dette brev i den vedlagte svarkuvert. […]

Dette er et udsnit af det rent Kafkaske brev som jeg har modtaget fra DR.

Og det slutter:

[…] Hvis denne adresse for nylig er blevet tilmeldt til medielicens, beder vi jer se bort fra dette brev og undskylder ulejligheden […]

Hvad mon der sker hvis man ikke reagerer på dette, og undlader at returnere brevet, som man bliver “opfordret til”?

Jeg mener ikke at jeg er pligtig til at betale erhvervs medielicens, da jeg betaler privat, og da mit firma kun har en adresse, fordi man ikke kan undlade at have en. Herudover har mit firma ikke udbetalt løn til den eneste ansatte, yours truly, i over 1,5 år.

Der er dog næppe tvivl om at jeg, ifølge loven, er pligtig til at betale erhvervsmedielicens, men jeg orker, helt ærligt, ikke at undersøge om jeg er pligtig til at betale den – for DR Licens har ikke fremsendt reglerne, dem skal man selv finde på Internettet. Jeg har tænkt mig bare at afvente, og “se hvad der sker”.

Noget helt andet er, at jeg ikke mener at det p.t., giver mening at tale om mobiltelefoner som licenspligtige, da man, i praksis, kun kan bruge dem til at hente indhold fra DR, hvis man f.eks. tegner et 3tv abonnement.

Jeg antager at jeg har modtaget dette brev fra DR, enten fordi de sender det til alle ikke registrerede erhvervsvirksomheder – nogle skal jo betale for det skandaløse, og helt unødvendige, mediehus – eller også er det fordi jeg er blevet 3 kunde.

Jeg tror på det første er tilfældet, da brevet er påført et KOB id og en virksomhedstype (ApS).

En ting er sikker, KOB har tjent rigtig gode penge på at agere mellemmænd i denne sag, og fantastisk timing, brevet kom efter valget.

Jo kreativiteten er i højsædet hos etaten.

Tak medielicens, og navnet er K, Joseph K., eller var det Dent, Arthur Dent?

hmm…den først grønne, så røde bjælke under dig, forsvandt lige…

Monday, November 19th, 2007

hmm…den først grønne, så røde bjælke under dig, forsvandt lige…

kunne du også se det?

grøn blev rød!

ICT Mythbusters Episode 2: Attack of the Clones! Or Is Microsoft just copying Apple? Or A Tale of Type

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Banner Mb-Cafepress

Welcome to ICT Mythbusters Episode Two – this time we’ll be investigating the myth that Microsoft is just copying Apple. The post is indeed subtitled “Attack of the Clones”, but bear with me, I have to take a detour to the world of digital typography, before returning to the real topic, so if you’re the impatient type (pun intended), just proceed to the end of the article.

ICT Mythbusters is inspired by the great Discovery show Mythbusters, and you’ll find Episode One here.

Is Microsoft just copying Apple?

Among Apple Macintosh faithfuls, it’s considered common knowledge that Microsoft, with Windows, just made a bad copy of the Apple Macintosh, but who’s copying who?

Erik Spiekermann from the Helvetica DocumentaryWhat triggered me to revisit this myth, that I’ve covered in detail before, was the screening of the great documentary, Helvetica, that I went to yesterday.

In the Helvetica movie Apple Computers was very much the supporting actor, and Apple was indeed mentioned in the credits. More prominently one of the Gurus of Type design, Erik Spiekermann, stated, as a fact, that Microsoft Windows was nothing more than a clone of the Apple Macintosh.

Spiekermann’s statement sounded just like the Apple marketing hype, and the fact that it was being stated by a very influential person in the industry, triggered me.

Firstly: I was somewhat surprised to hear this in a documentary about type. There’s no doubt that all the graphic designers interviewed for the documentary were already using Apple hardware, but I found it strange that Spiekermann’s statement didn’t end up on the cutting floor.

Show some love for the Mac

First there’s no doubt that Microsoft, and Bill Gates always has been great fans of the Apple Macintosh, as the clip below documents:

To create a new standard, it takes something that is just not a little bit different, it takes something that is really new, and really captures people’s imagination, and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve seen, is the only one that meets that standard

Case closed: Bill Gates just admitted that Windows is nothing more than a cloned stormtrooper.

Now wait a minute…As you might notice the clip is quite old, and at that time Microsoft was working on creating one of the key selling points, even to this date, for Apple hardware, the Excel spreadsheet.

Excel was originally developed for the Macintosh, and it wasn’t released for Windows until the the dying moments of the 1980ies. In fact, Microsoft has done more for the proliferation of the Apple Macintosh than any other software manufacturer, and you could argue that the commitment to the Macintosh platform that Microsoft guaranteed at the famous MacWorld keynote in 1997, was a pivotal turning point. Steve Jobs even declared:

We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to loose. […] The era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft, as far as I’m concerned that is over.

And then Jobs went on to establish the fact that Apple and Microsoft, together, is the standard with a combined market share of 100%. Whatever Apple and Microsoft does is the standard.

Well I’m sure the $150 million investment by Microsoft, and the televised image of Bill Gates in the background, had something to do with it, but Steve Jobs was just saying exactly what the stockholders and board-members wanted to hear.

What’s your type?

The market for Apple Macintosh was very much created by the fact, that the Macintosh Computer was the first desktop computer capable of doing print quality design, this revolutionised publishing.

Really it wasn’t so much Apple’s technology that helped create this market, as it was the PostScript technology developed by Adobe.

Until PostScript, all fonts used by desktop computers were so called bit-map fonts, it meant that the fonts were digitised to a specific resolution, and they looked horrible if you tried to scale them to a different point size than the one that was provided with the operating system.

Another problem with the bit-map fonts was that they required a lot of storage, laser-printers use a resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch), a point in typography is 1/72 of an inch, meaning that 12 point X roughly requires 50 x 50 pixels = 2.500 pixels, and you needed that matrix for all 256 possible characters in the character sets used until the 90ies, a rough calculation yields 640.000 pixels, in bytes that is 80.000, meaing that you’d need approximately 80KB to represent a 300DPI bit-map font. Multiply that by several factors, because the italic and bold versions need their own representation as well, and that should once again be multiplied by the number of fonts installed.

Today this doesn’t sound like much, but remember that the first Macintosh came with only 128KB of RAM, and NO harddrive. In those days a Linotype typesetter had a resolution that was a factor 16 higher, so Houston we have a problem.

Mathematics to the rescue

The PostScript technology used mathematics to describe the fonts (quadric Bézíer curves), making them scalable to all sizes, and a special “hinting” algorithm that reduced the processing power needed when rendering the types.

The technology is known as Adobe Type 1. Adobe had also secured licensing deals with Linotype, the dominant player in the type-foundry business, and owner of a huge share of the mainstream fonts.

The fact that that you could do close to print quality proofs on the desktop, and then simply send the PostScript files to the Linotype typesetter, for print quality, and be confident that the result would look the same as the proof, was nothing short of a revolution.

Fight the power – TrueType this

So heavenly bliss, we had scalable fonts of “infinite” quality, and thanks to the software Adobe Type Manager (ATM), type 1 fonts also worked on the screen, delivering the holy grail of desktop publishing, true WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

So what was the problem with this? The problem was the exorbitant licensing fees that you had to pay Adobe to use the technology and Linotype for the use of their copyrighted fonts.

One of my favourite parts of the Helvetica documentary, is in the scene where we’re taken to the “holiest of holy”, deep below the HQ of Linotype, where they keep the original Hass designs for Helvetica, it’s their “precious”.

Another problem with Adobes technology was that it was very processor intensive, making the screen rendering of the fonts quite slow. Anyone that has ever used ATM on early 90ies hardware will know what I’m taking about.

So Apple was developing a competing technology, TrueType, and later Microsoft and Apple worked together to create an alternative to type 1. Microsofts work included the introduction of replacements for the predominant fonts of the day, Helvetica became Arial, Times Roman became Times New Roman and Courier became Courier New.

Microsoft has contributed a number of major enhancements to TrueType, mainly ClearType, which is an anti-aliasing technology to improve the readability of screen fonts. The technology, which is bundled with Microsoft Reader, has failed to make to much of an impact, but anti-aliasing of screen fonts is the standard today.

Back to the real topic – who’s stealing from who

Oh well, this was a long talk about type, fonts and technology, and proof that the competition between Microsoft and Apple mostly takes place in the minds of the faithfuls (devotees?) of the “Church of Steve Jobs”.

Why is it that neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs really want to talk about copying, well it’s because Windows AND Mac OS both are clones.

Xerox Star 8010The work that is the foundation of all graphical user interfaces was done at the Palo Alto Research Center of XEROX, but XEROX being a hardware company, also developed hardware, and the XEROX Documenter or XEROX 8010 Star that really was the first modern computer.
The Star was introduced on April 27th in 1981, several months earlier than the IBM PC. The Macintosh, Windows and GEM shipped 4 years later.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t until the introduction of the NeXT computer, that the mainstream computer industry delivered anything remotely akin to the Star, XEROX failed to make the Star a mass-market product

Attack of the clones! MYTH BUSTED!

Today most people are oblivious of the fact that the Imperial clones were ordered by the agents of the Empire, the ICT equivalents of Count Dooku and Palpatine: Apple and Microsoft. The praise for creating the fantastic tools we have in our hands today should go the XEROX, the Palo Alto Research Center and the amazing people that worked there, for instance Alan Kay, whom Steve Jobs often quotes.

Mythbusted

References

The picture of the real myth busters, Adam Savage and Jamie Heyneman, actually is a banner add, but I make ABSOLUTELY no money from it, if you click it and make a purchase, all proceeds go to the Jamie, Adam and of course Café Press. I hope this will settle any copyright issues with them.

The picture of Erik Spiekermann above, is a still from the Helvetica film, and it is copied from the official site of the Helvetica film. The picture is copyright Gary Hustwit, but I consider my use here to be fair use.

The picture of the XEROX 8010 Star is copied from the wonderful DigiBarn website. The picture is copyright DigiBarn, but since it is under a CC-NA-SA license, I can use it – the wave of the future!

The MYTH BUSTED picture was copied from the webiste of MARIJNBOSCH.COM, there’s no copyright notice on the site, and I consider my use here to be fair use.

iPhone Dev Center – Apple opens the iPhone and iPod touch for developers

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Iphonedevcenter Loginbanner
iPhone Dev Center – Apple Developer Connection

Apple means business with their promise to open up the iPhone and iPod touch platform to developers with the launch of the iPhone Dev Center, and it looks quite impressive, even though it’s mainly information on how to develop web-applications, and links to already existing information for Mac OS X.

Below is a quote from the mail I just received from ADC:

Available to all ADC Members, the iPhone Dev Center is your complete source for technical information, resources, and expert advice on how to design, code and optimize web applications for iPhone and iPod touch. Take advantage of the iPhone Reference Library, web development guidelines, and sample code to build or optimize your web application. Through ADC on iTunes, you can watch iPhone experts discuss everything from user interface design to optimizing your web applications and content for iPhone.

Once your app is ready, or if you have an existing web app, submit it for possible listing on the Apple web apps page. Log in now and access all the resources of the iPhone Dev Center today.

Unfortunately I don’t think Apple is going to make the platform available to other hardware manufacturers, which is typical Apple, but wouldn’t it be great with Mono ported to the iPhone and iPod touch? And I’m confident that Mono and even Silverlight/Moonlight will be ported to the iPhone platform.

Another brilliant touch (pun intended ;-)), is that the developer resources only is available to registered ADC users, something that the open source communities would barf at, but Apple will get away with it, as usually, and I think that the open source communities should take lessons from Apple.

I think ADC will receive a huge influx of registered users because of this, and it’s a direct path to marketing of the WWDC, which will see an unprecedented surge in attendance next year, which I predict will force Apple into move towards two WWDCs every year, one for mobile and non-mobile devices.

This is yet another brilliant move by Apple – and is that a Steve Jobs version of “the monkey dance” I see on the horizon? Developers, Developers, Developers!

BarCampCopenhagen: Ça plane pour nous!

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

BarCampCopenhagen Logo
BarCamp wiki / BarCampCopenhagen

Ça plane pour nous! …. Ça plane pour nous! … Ça plane pour nous! … Ça plane pour nous! Nous! Nous! Nous! Nous! Ça plane pour nous! uh-u-u-uh! Ça plane pour nous!

I går holdt 3/4 af folkene bag den næste BarCampCopenhagen, planlægningsmøde.

Planlægningsmødet var rigtig hyggeligt (som videoen vist viser) og hvis i kigger derovre, så er der bonus: det var nemlig også produktivt (som det faktum, at vi “sådan set” er klar, viser).

Først og fremmest fik vi lagt skinnerne, i form af to højglanspolerede spor, der kommer til at hedde:

  • Geeky sh*t
  • Kangagoo?

Temaet for de to spor bliver hhv. et teknisk (Geeky sh*t) og et ikke-teknisk spor (Kangaroo?). Emytlogien for Geeky sh*t skal findes i den forrige BarCampCopenhagen, for Kangaroo? Siger jeg: FGI!

Hvis du vil “svæve” med os, så sig til! Vi har plads til i alt 50, og det tal nærmer vi os, hvilket vi er benovede over – TAK for interessen.

Ellers har vi brug for stole, sponsorer (mad, drikkevarer, t-shirts, wi-fi udstyr, gaver) og talere (vi er sådan ca. halvt besat).

Næste BarCampCopenhagen afholdes den 25-januar-2008 hos Beaconware, Gl. Kalkbrænderivej 10, kld. 2100 kbh Ø. BarCampCopenhagen afholdes i overensstemmelse med retningslinjerne for afholdelse af en BarCamp, men sådan generelt er de:

The Rules of Bar Camp

  • 1st Rule: You do talk about Bar Camp.
  • 2nd Rule: You do blog about Bar Camp.
  • 3rd Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot.
  • 4th Rule: Only three word intros.
  • 5th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.
  • 6th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists.
  • 7th Rule: Presentations will go on as long as they have to or until they run into another presentation slot.
  • 8th Rule: If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present. (Ok, you don’t really HAVE to, but try to find someone to present with, or at least ask questions and be an interactive participant.)

by Tantek Çelik as parodied from The Rules of Fight Club.

Drupal:Reloaded: Upon this “rock” I will build my “church”

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Drupal.OrgAfter a while being away from Drupal CMS, and struggling with a, IMHO, buggy version 5.0 earlier this year, I’ve come back to visit this old friend, and I’m very happy to be back.

Firstly: I must say that the current version 5.3 of Drupal is rock solid, and that I have renewed confidence in Drupal.

My revisiting Drupal has, in part, been sparked by a rather depressing talk on the Drupal Denmark mailing list. The community seemed to be withering away, and I was sad to hear that.

Personally I’m back from a long break from ICT work, and I think that I did a fair share of volunteer work, while we were trying to set up the group last year.

Another reason I’m back, is that I have a number of web-projects coming up, and I’ve long considered making Drupal the foundation of a majority of my future web projects, you might not notice, since my projects, most likely, won’t look much like Drupal.

You might also want to check my del.icio.us links tagged with Drupal, I’m currently looking into integration issues, but I’ll also be sharing module recommendations, and I’ll, most likely, contribute localisation files back to the community – it’s good to be back.

Drupal: Upon this “rock” I will build my “church”

Ward drive? Been there, done that!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Kim Bach کیم پاک:
Det er pokkers…jeg har ideerne, ved stort set hvordan alt skal laves, jeg har bare ikke energien
Det er da mega frustrerende at vi sidder i hver vores hjørne af verden og spilder MASSER af tid

Jamen, Kim.. Det er bare om at udnytte al din viden! Med mine evner til at stille spørgsmål og dine evner til at svare – hvem ved … en kur mod kræft er måske målet..

Kim Bach کیم پاک:
Kan nøjes med Warp drive
(og du ved godt at de kodnings spørgsmål du stiller er sådan < 101 niveau )

Ja, I know.. Sorry..
Jeg ved godt at jeg ikke ligefrem udfordrer dig..
Men jeg lover at vi sigter efter ward drive næste gang..

Kim Bach کیم پاک:
Ward drive? been there done that LOL
Det endte med at jeg “lånte” nogle penge til en pige der påstod at hun havde været Side 9 pige og på forsiden af V-MAX
Oh well hun skrev i min “poesi-bog” så noget fik jeg da ud af det

Pink Dildo Records’s Label Page – Music at Last.fm – Now I manage a record label

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Last.fm logoBeneath Contempt Logo

Pink Dildo Records’s Label Page – Music at Last.fm

Yes, I love Last.fm, and after registering as a solo artist on Last.fm (no I’ll not remind you by linking to it – for YOUR own good), I’m now managing a Record Label.
Beneath Contempt Wurst 2

It’s of course Pink Dildo Records I’m managing, and so far I’ve uploaded the non-copyrighted tracks by Beneath Contempt.

In 2000 I investigated the possibility of issuing a CD with Beneath Contempt, called Digital Comeback 2000, with copyrighted covers-tracks, but that was too cumbersome and expensive, so I gave up on it, and the cover-tracks aren’t available on Last.fm either – it would only result it us getting promptly banned, but all the tracks has been made available in FULL and as FREE downloads. N-Joy. Be advised it’s guaranteed to be in GLORIOUS LO-FI.

But it’s quite ridiculous that I can’t make the number one hit by Beneath Contempt, a spoof on Pippi Longstockings called Hippie Longhair, available due to the copyright rules. If you know Danish, and even if you don’t, just follow the link, and make your own version instead – the ultimate in DIY.

“These” limitations will eventual disappear, but only because we now are beginning to make music available for free.

Great Label Manager

As expected the process of uploading material to Last.fm is smooth. The material has to be submitted at 128K MP3 files, and you have to bundle your uploads into releases (e.g. albums). I found it easiest to package your release into a single ZIP file, and then upload it as one release.

After you’ve uploaded the file, Last.fm validates it and I did of couse have some hidden resource forks, that I could iron out, and you’re given the opportunity to change to artist and title of the tracks. The info is read directly from the MP3 file, so remember to have it tagged before uploading it, I had no problems with the process, and considering how much time I just spend uploading pictures to a Share Point Server, this was really easy and productive.

Last.fm also offers to upload the material for you, you just have to send them the CD and they’ll take care of it for you – great customer service.

Last.fm also offers integrated promotion tools, buing of including banner ads, co-marketing deals etc. It’s really quite impressive, and it looks very easy to use.

The traditional music publishers should take note, “Houston: YOU have a problem!”

ps. Trouble in “paradise”

And then I ran into one of the “limitations” of Last.fm’s Label manager.

Oh No - It HurtsI tried to upload the works of another of our “artists”, Oh No, and that name was already taken by, no other, than the brother of Madlib, so now my label and the content is put in an automatic moderation queue, quite understandable, let’s see how that works, and I’m not allowed to manage my label for the next three days, while the account is being scrutinised by the Last.fm staff.

I expect no problems, despite the controversial name of the label and the LO-FI, in mono, no less.

What I expect is than we’ll be told to find another name for the “artist” when publishing on Last.fm, or keep “Oh No” away from Last.fm, which would be a “shame” ;-).

I think the policy of Last.fm makes good sense, but the ambiguty of artist names, especially short and cathcy ones like “Oh No”, is a major problem, and Last.fm could be better at handling that.

If you can’t wait to go back to mono with “Oh No”, you can listen to the tracks we have available on pinkdild.org.