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Comments

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Gut Bacteria Cocktail May End Need for Fecal Transplants

Eugenia Loli Kefir (183 comments)

All what's needed is the patient making their own, home-made goat kefir (if they're not terribly allergic to dairy -- although even dairy allergies are a para-symptom of wheat allergy in reality). Kefir's 43 different bacteria and yeasts can kill CDiff, and it's being shown to do so in research (Minnesota university professor/doctor tried it recently too). But the kefir must be home-made (bottled ones don't include the full spectrum of bacteria/yeasts because of bottling regulations regarding alcohol the yeasts create), it must be from goat, sheep or buffalo milk (for less casein irritation, as the A2 casein is more compatible with humans), and it must be fermented for 24 hours (to minimize the amount of lactose ingested). Two-three cups a day of kefir (with a few berries in it, maybe with some pine and walnut nuts, also maybe with some raw, unfiltered and local honey too), and CDiff should be back in check within 3-4 days. No need for antibiotics, for pill probiotics, or doctors for that matter.

about 2 years ago
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Blender Debuts Fourth Open Source Movie: Tears of Steel

Eugenia Loli It still has a long way ahead (126 comments)

As a filmmaker and a graphics artist these days, I like Blender and its idea behind it, I really do. This is a copy of what I wrote on my blog about all that: The CGI on this movie still looks like VFX animation and not realistic. It looks fake. Camera tracking is good, modelling seems ok, but lighting and animation aren’t. There are no shadows to talk about, everything it’s too HDR-ish. If that’s what Blender can do in 2012, then color me unimpressed. That’s no Hollywood-worthy CGI. And let’s not forget that this movie was produced by the Blender guys themselves, with hand-picked Blender artists.

Unfortunately, that quality is not even good enough for TV anymore. Sure, there have been worse VFX on TV than what Blender can do, for example the re-imagined version of “V”, but thing is, there have been better ones too. Back in 2010, Stargate:Universe had some amazing VFX in some episodes, more realistic than anything I’ve seen on TV, before or after. An even more important point for TV is the time it takes to do things with the app (since their deadlines are extremely strict). Blender is not that easy to use, Maya can do better, faster.

That doesn't mean that Blender is useless. It’s not. You can’t beat its price and features in the advertising sector (which doesn't require extreme realism, it mostly needs some animation tricks), schools (for obvious reasons), or as a hobbyist artist. Blender can also prove to be a life-saver for indie filmmakers who primarily have the time to deal with Blender (rather than the money to buy other packages). So if *I* was doing an indie short movie, I would use Blender, because it's good-enough for what I would need to do, and I have indefinite time on my hands. So it’s got its uses in the world. It’s just that I don’t see it being able to compete for Hollywood movies and serious TV shows.

about 2 years ago
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Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

Eugenia Loli Re:Terra Nova (309 comments)

Terra Nova does not have a reasonable budget. It used about $16 mil for the pilot, and about $5mil for any subsequent episode, which is higher than the network TV average of $3mil.

more than 3 years ago
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Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

Eugenia Loli Re:Funny (309 comments)

I agree. SGU's acting way good, with Robert Carlyle, David Blue and the guy who played Greer being a step ahead of everyone else. Overall, acting was good. Only the female actors needed to step it up.

more than 2 years ago
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Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

Eugenia Loli Re:Give it to J. Michael Straczynski (309 comments)

Indeed. He made Babylon 5 for a $600,000 per episode. Which is amazing, even if you count inflation.

more than 2 years ago
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Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

Eugenia Loli Re:Funny (309 comments)

Actually, SGU at $2.5mil was cheap. Maybe not as cheap as SyFy wanted it to be, but it's cheaper than the average US show, which costs $3mil per episode these days. And that's the average price. Some network shows go up to $4 mil per episode. Cable shows are usually cheaper. "Mad Men" costs $2.5mil per episode too btw (started at $2.3mil in 2008 according to NYTimes).

more than 2 years ago
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Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

Eugenia Loli Re:Funny (309 comments)

The Canadian-made SGU had movie-grade FX on a TV budget (it cost $2.5mil per episode according to Robert Carlyle, the main actor on the show). SGU's FX were the best ever on TV (so far). Just check on Netflix "The Greater Good" episode to see the amount of detail and craftsmanship that went on the FX. But I think Lucas' problem is that he wants to do the FX via ILM, which is an expensive company to work with, even if he owns it. The answer is to go off shore for FX. Either Canada, or even South America.

more than 2 years ago
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How Today's Tech Alienates the Elderly

Eugenia Loli Re:problem is the manner of learning (453 comments)

Fully agreed. All the elderly family I have in Greece have feature phones, but they learn by habit: press some numbers, press the green button, then the red. Nothing else. They don't even know how to program their TV, someone else has to set it up for them the first time, and then they remember by habit that button with a 3 on it, is "News channel", for example. They don't want to learn how things really work. I tried. I tried with my mom, I tried to explain her the logic, but she prefers to write down on a paper which button does what, and then press these blindly, without understanding what's really going on.

So the problem really is "I don't want to learn", not that iOS is too difficult to use. Especially iOS, is not.

more than 3 years ago
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Local Atmosphere Heated Rapidly Before Japan Quake

Eugenia Loli Re:In rural Greece we have a word for that (202 comments)

Epirus in Greece, where I'm coming from, is a quake zone btw, we have "feel-able" earthquakes regularly there (at least once or twice a year). The biggest ones, where people died, were in 2004, and then back in 1981.

more than 3 years ago
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Local Atmosphere Heated Rapidly Before Japan Quake

Eugenia Loli In rural Greece we have a word for that (202 comments)

In my mother country, Greece, we have a word for this: koufovrasi. Supposedly (or so the superstition goes), a few hours before an earthquake, the weather becomes hot, stale, like you're choking, and it's like the sound doesn't travel as much (that's why it's called as such, which in free translation it means "deaf, boiled weather"). In the villages of the mountain Epirus, this is a known "sign" that an earthquake might hit soon. I personally experienced this kind of weather once or twice during in my early life there, but I don't remember if an earthquake ever hit soon afterward or not.

more than 3 years ago
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iPhone 3G and iOS4 Lack Chemistry

Eugenia Loli Re:Older models are left to die (194 comments)

No, you're using the wrong update button. Not the one for ALL apps, but in each app's page. So when you try to update apps one by one, this doesn't work anymore.

more than 3 years ago
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iPhone 3G and iOS4 Lack Chemistry

Eugenia Loli Re:Older models are left to die (194 comments)

This does not work here, for two different devices, and if you read the article, you will see that there are many people who can't. There are many threads about it. If you can, you're special.

more than 3 years ago
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iPhone 3G and iOS4 Lack Chemistry

Eugenia Loli Older models are left to die (194 comments)

Apple needs to be a bit more carefully about older versions of the OS and models. Case in point:

1. This: http://www.osnews.com/story/24428/The_Next_Brick_to_Decorate_Your_Wall_iOS_3_x_Devices
After months this article got posted, the App Store STILL DOES NOT work properly. You still can't update an app from within the device by hitting "update". The button does nothing! You need iOS 4.x or above before you can update via iOS (so we now have to use iTunes, which I don't want to use since that iPod has no music in it, I just use it as a PDA).

2. Apple REMOVED AirTunes support from iOS 4 when the second generation of AppleTV came out. What they did exactly was to stop supporting the original AppleTV (that was still sold at the time), from within iOS. So I can't use the 1st Gen AppleTV to send audio too from my iOS device anymore. This used to work just fine up to a few months ago. After the iOS 4.2 update, the support was removed.

more than 3 years ago
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Michio Kaku's Dark Prediction For the End of Moore's Law

Eugenia Loli Kaku is wrong on this one (347 comments)

While parts of technology might stop progressing as fast, other parts of technology will start getting optimized, to get over the halting of that other part. So if hardware stops getting faster, people will start optimizing software (which is currently extremely inefficient), until we get a better HW/SW tech at some point later in the future. There's a very nice comment on the Amazon page of the book by JPS, give it a read.

more than 3 years ago
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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

Eugenia Loli Re:lawsuits? (375 comments)

>That's like saying you'll never go back to Vivaldi after hearing Mozart...

No, because both were good. In my case, I can't say that Rihanna, who sells millions of records, is better than Washed Out. She's not.

> Music is all about taste

Sure, but there's also a common denominator threshold. When you cross it, things sound kitsch.

It's like watching "Lost in Space", and then you started watching "Babylon 5", after someone transported the tapes back to 1967 for you. After you go Babylon 5, and see how much DEPTH there's there, you will find the rest of 1967's TV boring as hell.

Same with music. Yes, there are tastes, but what I tried to communicate goes beyond tastes. For example, the "taste" paradigm would work for me when thinking that I like "Surfer blood", but I don't like "Toro Y Moi" -- both pretty hipster artists otherwise. But when it comes to Rihanna and Surfer Blood, then that's not a matter of taste anymore, because we're talking about two different WORLDS. Two different products: one's music, the other one's not!

more than 3 years ago
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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

Eugenia Loli Re:I used to buy music (375 comments)

I have 140 GBs of legal music, and I will not stop buying or legally downloading free new music, not because I'm a consumer drone, but because the music changes over the years, and I want to keep up with it. I like the new stuff more than I like the old stuff. Music evolves and becomes more complex, and requires more time to get accustomed to it, and I like that because the payout is better. Of course I'm talking about underground indie music, I don't listen to mainstream artists. Either way, RIAA won't get my money, since they don't support the kind of artists I listen to.

more than 3 years ago
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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

Eugenia Loli Re:Call me a troll but .... (375 comments)

This is true for metal, but not for indie rock music. Started in 2006, and exploded in 2009, almost all indie hipster bands given away from 1 to 3 free legal downloads per album, as promotion. That's how I got into indie music myself. This helped creating the so many indie music blogs out there, these legal free downloads. The metal scene doesn't have as many blogs, and therefore not as many free samples -- it's a bit chicken and egg problem. Plus older mentality I guess, from the bands and these older labels that run metal bands.

Anyways, Amazon has almost 10 free metal albums, with various artists in it, check them out. Email me if you need URLs.

more than 3 years ago
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Music Execs Stressed Over Free Streaming

Eugenia Loli Re:lawsuits? (375 comments)

It's all about the people and how much free time they have. For example, I grew up in the '80s, with Madonna. As any teenage girl of the time, I loved her look and music. I liked only a bit of actual rock, and mostly pop. The '90s were eurodance for me, and 2000s were adult, popularized, alternative rock. Everything I listened until 2009 was under the monicker of "popular" and "mainstream".

In 2009 I started listening to underground indie bands, and today I mostly listen to artists that record music at home, and not only don't even have a contract with an indie label (let alone a major one), but they don't think they will ever sell a single digital unit, so they give their album for free on Bandcamp.

When all that took place in my head, within the last 2 years, I'm now INCAPABLE of listening to pop music. I hate it. I hate 95% of mainstream music. I feel that the bedroom artists, that don't have to answer to anyone, are the true heroes who PUSH the boundaries to explore new kinds of music.

I'm a 37 years old. I don't look like a hipster at all (more like a fat computer-stricken geek). But because I had the time and will (no kids you see), I took the time to educate myself about new kinds of music. In the beginning it felt like random notes, completely hookless, but as the time goes by and you get accustomed to the sound, a new musical world will show up in front of you. After that tipping point (it took me over a year to get sonically there), you can never go back to the old style of music. It will sound too little, too cheesy, too kitch, too unintelligent.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Portugal to try and turn Creative Commons Illegal

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Eugenia Loli writes "The biggest political party in Portugal, the Socialist Party, will present a new proposal for approval in the next government, no matter if they win the elections or not. They support a vision where Creative Commons harm culture, and in this law proposal they intend to turn it illegal. Personally, as a Creative Commons artist (my videography), I find this to be a very disturbing event, and I surely hope such prohibiting and artistic anti-freedom laws don't spread in other European countries too."
Link to Original Source
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Indie Music the Real Killer for Major Labels?

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Eugenia Loli writes "After Slashdot reported on the news that music execs now blame streaming for lost revenue, I did some digging about the state of the music industry. Except the known culprits (piracy, free streaming, lack of music and business innovation, financial crisis), I found that the rise of indie music in the mainstream might be more of a cause than previously thought. In the past few weeks, 80% of Rolling Stone magazine album reviews are about indie acts, while in the '90s there was only a single indie band that got reviews (Pavement), and in the beginning of the last decade there were just about 2-3 such reviews per year. But something clicked towards the second part of the decade, and especially after 2009, there's a surge in the press pushing consumers towards indie purchases. Maybe when RIAA complains to the Government about their failing revenue and asks for stricter laws, they should show a more complete picture of music sales, rather than the sales of just a few [ex-]major labels."
Link to Original Source
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Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Sheep (250395) writes "This past week I found it weird that none of the words #wikileaks, #cablegate, #cables, #Assange, etc. were actually "trending" on Twitter. Today, my fears of some secret censorship going on, are slowly coming true. It appears that Twitter is censoring all these keywords, essentially trying to minimize the effect Wikileaks can have on the world through Twitter's democratized popularization of information. It's ironic that last year Twitter suspended their own scheduled server maintenance in order to not interrupt its users from tweeting on Iran's revolution, and now it appears to censor, and manipulate public opinion as it sees fit!"
Link to Original Source
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App Rejected on AppStore Following Complaint by Co

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Little Sheep (250395) writes "There's now a new issue we can add to the list of problems with the App Store and its governance: Are you an iPhone developer? Do you want a similar, competing application out of the App Store? All you need to do is send an infringement claim to Apple, and they'll happily threaten to remove the competing application without a second thought."
Link to Original Source
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The New School of Videographers

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "This editorial discusses the impending explosion of hobbyist artistic videographers, in the same way that happened with digital photography just a few short years ago. The article claims that it's time camera manufacturers create camcorders equivalent in principle to the cheap DSLRs that we currently enjoy. Some beautiful HD footage, shot by amateurs, is shown too."
Link to Original Source
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "OSNews published an interview with Damian Kindler, one of the producers of Stargate SG-1, regarding his new "Sanctuary" project, a 'webisodic' production that uses online sales in HD format as the main distribution method (the first episode was set free to watch via YouTube as try-before-you-buy). Kindler speaks of how the project came to be, the software used to render most of the scenes, future distribution deals and he reveals that there are two more sci-fi web-series coming next year."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "Ardour 2.0, the powerful digital audio workstation, is out. You can use it to record, edit and mix multi-track audio. You can produce your own CDs, mix video soundtracks, or just experiment with new ideas about music and sound. Ardour capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal. If you've been looking for a tool similar to ProTools, Nuendo, Pyramix, or Sequoia, you might have found it. And it's all free under the GPL. The new version also includes a Mac OS X universal package in addition to Linux/Unix support."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Accepted (250395) writes "The first review of Zeta 1.5 to be found was just posted at OSNews.com. Zeta is the true successor of BeOS (based on the original code) and version 1.5 comes out about 2 years after the Zeta 1.0 release. In this new release many new applications are included, lots of new hardware support and most importantly: multi-user support."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "Has the OEM market gone too far? OSNews reviews a taiwanese WiFi phone that was originally announced with lots of fanfare from sites like Gizmodo and Engadget because it is the only such product that can do both VoIP SIP and Skype. Apparently though, the phone is buggy, the Skype functionality requires a PC with an old version of Skype running on it, it has major usability issues but most importantly, it can be hacked and easily fried if someone on the same WiFi network uses a telnet client to login to this almost-unprotected VxWorks-based phone (login/password is 1/1 and the telnet port can't be closed down). Where is quality control for products that are imported in this country?"
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "Magnatune seems to have the right idea and even the right motto: 'We Are Not Evil'. They are a real record label but they give away 128 kbps mp3s of all their artist's songs for free. If you like what you hear you can purchase higher quality DRM-free FLAC, Mp3, OGG, AAC, WAV versions at a price you set! If you don't, you can always keep, share or delete your legally downloaded 128 kbps mp3, your choice. They are sharing profits 50/50 with their signed artists and they allow consumers to share their purchased songs with 3 friends. What sets them apart from other 'free music' web sites is that they actually sign artists that are able to produce high quality music and are serious about their work (rather than just being a random mp3 hosting site). Also, the artists keep all the rights to their work!"
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Provataki (250395) writes "OSNews has a detailed review of the second effort from Motorola to kill the iPod: the ROKR E2. The phone was officially released just last Monday in Asia and it features a QVGA screen, 1.3 MP camera, full music and video capabilities, FM radio, Bluetooth with stereo sound support and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Anonymous Reader (250395) writes "In an interview, Motorola's opensource guru Guy Martin clarifies the future of mobile Linux at Motorola and the rest of the companies that have joined in their consortium. He mentions that eventually an SDK will be released so hackers can write native C++ applications (their framework is based on Qt Embedded, but not on Qtopia) and binary compatibility between phones running on the same platform will be pursued."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Eugenia Loli writes "GEOS managed to offer nearly all the functionality of the original Mac in a 1 MHz computer with 64 Kilobytes of RAM. It wasn't an OS written to run on a generic x86 chip on a moving hardware platform. It was written using immense knowledge of the hardware and the tricks one could use to maximise speed. OSNews has a 14-page introduction with screenshots."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Eugenia Loli writes "Research company Telephia released a study announcing that over 34 million Americans use the mobile web and that the Openwave XHTML browser holds the biggest market share with about 27%. While not very well known, Openwave is one of the driving forces behind mobile SVG, IM and WAP, while they recently announced their Linux browser port on top of Trolltech's Qtopia. Motorola's MiB browser is following closely behind with 24% while Nokia in USA holds only a 13% and Access Netfront a 9%. According the PDF, Americans are mostly interested in mobile email, sports news, maps and weather rather than visiting random web sites."
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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Eugenia Loli writes "According to a recent research it seems that the cellphone web browsing landscape is much different than most people would expect based on their desktop browser experiences. Openwave rules the cellphone market with 27% and Motorola follows closely with 24%. Nokia is at a mere 13%, although when taking into account worldwide statistics on smartphones-only, Nokia's S60/80/90 phones are beating everyone else with over 64% of that particular market share. No word on Opera Mini though..."

Journals

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago 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).

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The Future of Palm PDAs is VoIP

Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago

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. ;)

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago 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. :)

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago 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.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago "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.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago 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.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago 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.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago "A 27-year-old mentally disturbed man was beaten to death by enraged onlookers at a world-famous shrine in downtown Bangkok after he destroyed a popular statue of a Hindu deity with a hammer, police said."

Which is why I prefer (true) Christianity. Sure, there are a lot of crazy "Christians" out there that they would do the exact same thing to the poor guy if he was found to be destroying a deity of Christ or Virgin Mary. But true Christians would never kill or hurt, no matter what, because Christ preaches of love even to his worst enemy. Other religions --while well-respected and with longer history-- they don't go into such depth into love towards our fellow man. So even in the event that these Thai guys were not religious fanatics, they might had still choose to hurt someone just because their religion in its very center does not preach *love and forgiveness* as the most important things in someone's life. Christianity does so and that's the only reason why I am still a bit attached to it and haven't outskirted completely into becoming an atheist. Notice that I am not critisizing their religion, I just note this specific difference it has with Christianity and why I prefer Christianity (although I must say that Budhism is very tempting).

I read a very interesting editorial by an atheist a few weeks ago. He concluded that while he doesn't believe in God, he reads the Bible sometimes and he prompts others to do so, not because he believes in all the stories in the Bible, but because Christ's teachings ultimately make you a better person. And that's what matters. If Christ is truly who he said he was, then he would prefer people to live by his teaching and not recognize him as the Son of God, instead of recognize him as such but still sin. And so that atheist makes a better Christian than many others "Christians" out there.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago Kelly of osViews has done it again. He once again accuses Thom that he is posting anonymously at his site, while Thom is really not. Kelly's half-knowledge of how IPs and ISPs work really show how this person who runs "OS"views.com has no clue about OSes whatsoever. Instead of the occasional XP usage and heavy OSX usage, the guy doesn't really run or endorses anything else. Anyways, Thom has made a good write up here.

I completely redesigned the Pocket MSN front page in i-Mode cHTML so it's looking better on non-IE PDAs or phones that Microsoft doesn't support. MSN's mobile page is querying the user agent and then sends either a WAP page or an IE HTML page. Thing is, none of their two versions look good, some of the code is heavy and unesessary (hey Microsoft, people are paying GPRS by the KB!!) and the web developer who wrote the HTML version for Pocket IE shows up his idiocy when he declares a gazillion of completely unessasery tables at 240 pixels width. While PocketPCs are 240 pixels width, the guy forgot to take into account the scrollbar! So, I redid the page and it now renders much better on devices that can do HTML. You are very welcome to use this cHTML (non-WAP) version of mobile MSN (don't worry, no info is being stored on my server, it's a plain HTML page). Just make sure you have already signed in on MS' MSN website (check the "save my email address and password" option while signing-in) and then, for any subsequent visit use my version.

To show you how much lighter and cheaper to use my version is, here is the rundown:
MSN Mobile's HTML-only page uses 8.07 KB and with all images it uses 14.7 KBs.
My version uses 4.50 KB for the HTML and 9.25 KBs overall (including images). And if I had taken the time to place all images on my server (resulting in smaller URL text) and properly optimize the gif icons, we would be seeing just 8 KBs of *overall* downloading (including images). And this means 7 cents of savings with Cingular's GPRS ratings ($10 per 1 MB). So if you are checking Hotmail or MSN sites once a day, that would save you half a dollar in a week's time. Might not be a big deal to wealthy people, but it's still a saving and if ALL supposedly-mobile pages out there were properly optimized, per-KB-GPRS-users would be saving many dollars per month over their cellphone bill.

Opera Mini is server-side and does a good job "cleaning up" unessasery code resulting in cheaper GPRS charges, but in the process makes most pages look like ass and as a web developer myself it's a tradeoff that I am not always willing to make.

UPDATE: Check one more comparison between the two sites on my QVGA Linux phone running Opera 7.50.

I managed two royal flushes this weekend in Reno, NV in Video Poker ("Jacks or Better" game). I made about $5 (I only play for pennies, just for fun, I never gamble). JBQ made over $300 clean profit I think. It seems that I would be making some hundrends too if I was playing $5 per hand, instead of the $0.05 that I actually played. But I am a chicken, I would never play for real money. I've seen many starving days in my life to starting now throwing money on bloody casinos.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago Since the dependency of GTK+ to Cairo, the Gnome performance has taken a hit. It's not even something that's measured in some percentages, it's just visible when using the system. But Xara Ltd has some numbers to show how slow Cairo is compared to Windows' GDI. If they were using DirectDraw instead of GDI, it would have been many-many times faster than Cairo.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago Geeks.com started selling today a Linux/Qt phone from Motorola, the quad-band/EDGE A780. The phone was originally destined only for Asia, but now Geeks brought it to US with the best price of any Linux phone I have ever seen: $295. Which is a very good price considering that you are getting a PDA/phone with Opera, Real Player, Document Viewers with an updated firmware from late 2005.

If you are not convinced that this is a bargain, consider that the brand new and VERY similar in software/specs Motorola Ming A1200 Linux phone costs $700 here in US.

Its software is almost identical to my E680i Linux phone, so expect the same lag in the UI and in the video/camera application. The A780 phone is better than my E680i in every respect, except in three points: it doesn't support A2DP, it doesn't have an FM radio and it uses Transflash instead of SD (so you are limited to 1 GB instead of 4 GBs of removable storage). Other than that, it's a really cool phone and the BEST Linux purchase you can make today, if you are a Linux geek or a prorfessional who needs PDA functions on an affordable phone device.

If only Motorola was to freely release the SDK though so devs could port apps. That's the only limiting factor from calling all Motorola Linux phones "true" smartphones. :-(

BTW, at the bottom of the Geeks.com page it says that the phone doesn't seem to work with Cingular's GPRS, but this is not true. This phone DOES work with GPRS/EDGE with both T-Mobile and Cingular.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago

My friend Thom is jumping up and down for Foresight Linux usually, and so I decided to have a second look yesterday, downloading a VMWare image of their latest 0.9.4 'stable' release that included Gnome 2.14 in it.

I found about 30 bugs in about one hour of using the system. Some of them are usability bugs, some are just personal irks, but about 15 of them are real hardcore bugs.

In fact, I am a proud finder of a huge security hole that I discovered on Gnome's fast-user-switch 2.14.0 applet. This is the first security bug I ever found, IIRC. Anyways, I emailed James who is the maintainer of the applet, he replied soon enough and he will possibly look into this (I'll be watching).

But what really bugs me is that Foresight Linux's bugs I found are easily detectable with a simple SMOKETESTING. Don't these people care about their project? Don't they see these reproducible errors, crashes, freezes, whatever? I have to state the following in capitals, I am sorry:

IF A PIECE OF SOFTWARE DOESN'T PASS SMOKETESTING, DON'T BLOODY RELEASE IT.

No matter if your software is marketed as "bleeding edge" or not, there is a difference between having some bugs here and there and not pass smoketesting. This is the difference between a Beta/RC version and an eternal Alpha. Who wants to use Alpha software? Surely not someone who respects him/herself.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I have an Apple developer account and I received today an email from Apple asking devs to become "ADC Select" members and get a Macbook discount. Well, here's the thing. It really surprised me that they had this fine print on their email: "*Based on estimated results of industry-standard SPECint and SPECfp rate tests. SPEC® is a registered trademark of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC)."

You see, when Apple was in the PPC architecture, they were avoiding publishing SPEC benchmarks just like the 'devil avoids the holy water' (this is a Greek saying btw). Apple would just not release SPEC results, even if ALL other CPU and machine manufacturers would. But now that they are on the Intel platform, they don't mind doing so and mentioning SPEC.

This exposes Apple as huge liers to the public when they were saying back in the day via ads that the G3 is faster than the PII or that the G4 was faster than the P4. In reality, especially the G3, it was even slower than a PII-Celeron at the same clock. Internally at Motorola, the G3 was never meant for a high performance CPU in fact, but Apple had no choice but to use that CPU for their Mac line or they would have been out of business.

Of course, Intel is not much better in that regard when they were saying that the PentiumII would make your internet connection... faster. Or AMD's claims over some of Intel's models. Everyone lies. Pick your poison. It's just that I don't think that anyone has lied as much as Apple has the past few years regarding CPU speeds.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago Being the geek that I am, I had wet dreams for Nokia's N80/N92 the past few months. But their lack of a qwerty keyboard or touchscreen really kills them for me. Why is it so hard to come up with a phone that has all the hardware/software features that most people need to replace laptops when travelling? Personally, I don't really require that much from a smartphone that one would call it "modern": QVGA web browsing on selected mobile-enabled sites, email client with Gmail and preferrably Hotmail support, IM for all 5 popular protocols, VoIP with Skype and Gizmo/SIP support, mp3 player with A2DP/AVRCP support, enough main memory/RAM and an 1.3 MP camera that actually has a protection cap and a flashlight .

All these features are doable easily on a Windows Mobile 5 PocketPC smartphone, but the reality is that there is not a single model out there that does all that well. For example, check the upcoming HTC "Hermes" PocketPC here. It has unecessary "decorations" that makes it look bulky (haven't they learned from Apple's iPod that SIMPLE is BETTER?), and its new style of qwerty keyboard is much worse than their previous version: all keys are glued next to each other making them really hard to press the right key and not only that, but they don't even use all the available surface to make key-pressing easier. WHAT IS HTC SMOKING??

Yes, the currently available HTC front runner called "Wizard" (sold by T-Mobile, QTek and i-Mate) has a better keyboard but it doesn't do it for me because it only has a 200 Mhz CPU which can't encode on-the-fly for A2DP and so their AKU2 software update has completely removed A2DP support from the ROM. Sucky!

I have looked at *ALL* PocketPC phone models out there, none is doing things right, the way I need them to work. And Nokia doesn't offer an S60 model with touchscreen and Qwerty (the E61 is nice, but no video/snapshot camera and touchscreen? come on!). And Sony Ericsson's P990 is disgustingly expensive (over $1000) with no real application base (it has fewer than 30 applications that work on this phone model, compare that to 1000 Symbian apps and 20,000 Windows Mobile ones). And PalmOS 5 is a dead horse anyway, so the bulky, unstable Treos with their stupid external antenna doesn't do it either for me.

What I need is a well-designed keyboard that uses all available space and slides out of a design that looks like this (this is my mockup). It is imperative that the device is very small and has a very thin bezel around it (just like the iPod video does) and yet it remains fully usable and easy to press buttons. It should have a VGA video call camera, quadband GSM and UMTS, two softkeys for Windows Mobile 5.1 AKU2, a Windows key to open the Start menu and an "ok" button to *close* applications (and so minimizing the need of using the touchscreen), it has a respectable 1.3 or 2 MP camera with a flashlight and protection cap, WiFi 802.11b, Bluetooth 1.2, 416 Mhz Intel XScale CPU, 128 MB of internal storage and 64 MB of RAM, a good 2.8" QVGA touchscreen, a speakerphone, 2.5mm or 3.5mm audio jack, a normal SD/SDIO slot that can read SD disks up to 4 GBs, plus the software features I mentioned above. And if there's space in the device's internals, throw in an FM Radio too, they don't cost more than $5 anyway. The phone should be able to deliver more than 5 hours on GSM continuous calls and have about 250 hours of stand-by (easily doable with a 1440 mAh battery and electronic parts that are not cheap ass crap like O2's XDA Atom (which I reviewed a few weeks ago) and are instead low-power).

I would gladly pay up to $700 for such a device. And I am already offering too much considering how much the parts and software licenses really worth (manufacturing cost of such a device is way below $500 USD in reality). While R&D will be expensive for a brand new company to pull such a device through and bring it to market, it should be child's play for someone like HP or HTC or even Quanta. So, why aren't they doing things right?

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago "France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker's popular iPod player."

I liked these news. Now Apple will get a bit of the crazy European taste that Microsoft is getting from EU for its Media Player. They're crazy, crazy I tell you! Run!

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago For the past 1-2 years the major studios are bitching that the Box Office financial gains are very low, because people don't go to the cinemas as much as they used to, they claim. They also claim that piracy has taken a toll on their business.

Honestly, that's all bull. How do you expect me to go to the theater when their Top 10 movies this week (10 March 2006 results) has only a single "ok" movie among them?? Except the family movie "Eight Below", the rest nine movies are CRAP (and that includes "Ultraviolet" for which I had better expectations from its director -- readers of this blog have already read about my "Ultraviolet" expectations for months now).

If you sum up all the IMDb rating numbers of the top-10 movies currently on the Box Office, you will get the LOWEST overall rating number, EVER. While IMDb is not the most accurate way to evaluate a movie, its reader ratings are pretty damn close. The bulk of the current Top10 movies are not even worth the time and bandwidth to... pirate on. Let alone getting all dressed up, getting to the car, spending gas to drive 8+8km away in San Mateo, fighting for a parking spot, waiting in a long line for a ticket and finally sacrificing a goat to find a good seat.

If the studios want us, consumers, to visit theaters more, then they should stop releasing absolute crap.

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Eugenia Loli Eugenia Loli writes  |  more than 8 years ago "Citi expects Apple to complete its transition to Intel-based microprocessors in August with the introduction of a new, dual-core PowerMac, with Intel-based iBooks coming as early as April. The brokerage also expects Apple to release a new video iPod in April."

This is correct. The x86 platform is a well-understood platform with many ready-made solutions so creating new PCs and testing them is a matter of a single month while it can be as long as 6 months when creating an equivelant PPC machine because Apple had to invent new things on their own each time.

On other news, I finally found the time to rip my favorite songs out of our 400 CDs we own (128kbps mp3 VBR). I still have 1.2 GB free space left on my 4 GB first-generation iPod Mini. I guess you can say that I am "difficult" with art... ;)

Update: Oh, my God, I got to blog about this! Good friend Thom (and I hope he stays so after this blog post ;) has never heard of the The Scorpions! I am sure he has heard some of their songs though, he just doesn't know it. Either that, or he is too young for me to hang out with. ;-)

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