28 March 2007


I don't know if this is just a technical glitch[*] or straight censure, but one of the Planet aggregators carrying my blog selectively skip content (I talk about this post).
If I am censored, please either a) drop me from aggregation or b) stop censoring.

Thank you.

[*] - I doubt very much the glitch, as a lot of other aggregators (some run by me) are just fine

Update: Further investigation and cooperation of the admin show a technical problem. Too bad I write once in a while an article for my Romanian readers and then something happens and is not delivered in the channel. There must be a moral to this story...

27 March 2007

OLPC and Romania

The Romanian Parliament debate the OLPC program and the current tendency is to reject it. I find suggestive this quote from one of the most vocal opponents (source: HotNews.ro, translation mine):

"On the IT market, beside this manufacturer (OLPC), there are two worldwide companies, Intel and AMD, who produce more powerful mini-laptops"

I know the saying "Never attribute to malevolence what you can explain by simple stupidity", but Varujan Pambuccian, the author of this quote, is a former computer programmer, with an impressive background in IT&C.

Professional Webdesign

In the last few days I thought a lot about webdesign companies and their practices (probably this was ignited by the talk about Simplissimo and their attempt at an alternative approach).

The thing that bother me mainly is how those firms do their own website: usually a flashturbation extravaganza with very little meaningful content (sometime not at all). This is apparently a paradox, as the own website has to be the most effective selling tool for a website maker.

I'll focus on one almost random example, my old "friends" at INOVATIKA.COM, which are far from an isolated case, the majority is about the same. The websites they do for customers are not entirely bad (read me well, I didn't say good or even half-good, I said precisely "not entirely bad", I saw worse, but more about this later), but their own website is so bad, I can't understand how a customer in his right mind would buy a website.

Let's cut to the chase, here is how the website look most of the time:


And when displaying content:


I could keep a long dissertation about how, why and where the site sucks, but I am not in the business of giving such advices for a commercial entity, one which is supposed to have first class experts (or so they claim in a comment on my blog).

Well, I used a little rhetorics above, surely I have my own theory: the usual customer does not know the basics of design, marketing or usability and they mistake bling and shiny for quality. They see the site which look complex and assume the creators know their turf. What a potential customer does not know it that the Flash website is usually not made by the same person/team (depending on the company size) as the HTML site he will get.

Another theory, specific to my example (INOVATIKA) can be drawn by looking at their Portofolio page, it not seems like those sites were purchased by customers discovering their website. So then what is the purpose of the website? Self increasing the ego? Dick contest with the competition?

I hope the people at INOVATIKA will not consider my use of this example (fair use I would say) as an insult, I said I saw worse from their competition. For example someone I know purchased some months ago (unbelievable, in the year 2006) for a 4 digits sum a website made with Dreamweaver, with a table based layout witch fail HTML validation (and that is a supposedly respected and widely know firm). Unfortunately at the time I was asked just for an advice, not having a decision (to reject on technical grounds) and not being listened, so they got away saying "W3C standards are optional, not required" and "Nobody in Romania use W3C validation" (now I'll defend INOVATIKA, at least they use validation to a certain degree).

There is more to say about webdesign, maybe other time I'll talk about a friend of mine (this time a real friend) who do websites for 50$ (by customizing free templates downloaded from the 'net) and does not have a website for himself.

Or maybe about huge corporations who do websites on big budget for government agencies, but here I just started gathering data.

Footnote: Sure, one can point his finger at my personal websites, which are not state of the art, but the thing is, I don't sell anything on them, I can afford even to insult my Internet Explorer using readers or to serve them intentionally a crippled version of the site. I think I am not a complete idiot in the field thinking at my work in a few community, commercial and educational websites, but I will not take it personally if someone affirm the contrary.

Update: now I have a Romanian translation of this in my articles page (in Romanian).

20 March 2007

Linux Personas

Winning Against Linux is a site where Microsoft identifies Linux users as personas, along with the ways to convert us to using their products and even the money they think can get. Awesome!

me, viewed by microsoft

I modified in the screenshot just one small detail, for increased realism: the user photo.

PS: so they fight if they feel the need need to win, the conclusion is that we have just one more step.

14 March 2007

Notebook stickers

I saw on Planete Beranger a collection of notebook stickers for various Linux distros. The Fedora one needed some minor tweaks, so here is a remade version (complete with SVG source, part of my artwork page):

fedora sicker fedora sicker fedora sicker
fedora sicker fedora sicker fedora sicker

Yeah, I know it uses the logo and the wordmark, and the use of those by the community is taboo, but what else can I do?

Update: I know it is not good for print, but couldn't stop the urge to add blur, so I made an additional fancy version.

Update: and a monochrome one for as cheap as possible printing.

06 March 2007

On dogfooding and application usage

This is beyond my comprehension: when you post a screenshot about how to contribute to Fedora and post the screenshot on Fedora wiki which is the best to use? Mac OS X of course! To show the world how Fedora is a first class Desktop. At least the person who did the screenshot is sincere.

Please spare me the use the best tool for the job argument, for $DEITY sake, is a basic screenshot of a web browser uploading a file to a website.

I am very straightforward, my application usage, as reported by Mugshot is like this:

application usage

01 March 2007

Martisoare, martisoare

If I have regular readers of my blog, probably they already know my opinion about Mărţişor, but If Planet linux360 is talking about the subject, I'll add my voice in a visual way:

Yeah, good and sincere way to show your affection to your SO...