Jabber the hut

Bullfighting in Russia: And then, when one of the few good things about Russia was the total absence of bullfighting, someone decides to organize a 'Portuguese-style bullfight' in Moscow. In a glimpse of wisdom, Russian officials forced the organization to cancel the show, but however they have gone to court and it's not over yet. Well, at least it's not 'Barrancos-style'.

Bullfighting in Portugal: So those zany people on the tiny village of Barrancos are at it again. For those who don't know, killing bulls on an arena is forbidden in Portugal since 1928. You can stab then with long irons, but the bulls must be killed on a slaughterhouse after the show is over. However, for the 73th straight year, a small village next to the Spanish border wants to do it the Spanish way, that is, the bull must die in the arena while a few psicopats and old ladies scream in joy. That always means police, media, stupid people shouting and in the end, everything is done according to that stupid, STUPID, S T U P I D tradition. "Because traditions must be followed", they say. I say we sell Barrancos to Spain in exchange for a good tortilla recipe.

I downloaded Jabber, a good shot at an universal instant messaging program that is actually quite nice. One problem though: You must open an account in Yahoo IM, MSN IM and ICQ (that means downloading those spyware-ridden, merch-bound apps) before Jaber works. Nothing that a few loads of fake data about me (John Murdoch of Trinidad and Tobago) won't solve...

So nice of you, Howard. Very nice. Nice indeed: The Australian government is refusing to allow a Norwegian ship with 400 Afghan refugees to dock, because apparentely 9000 illegal immigrants a year is a life-threatning problem. A tiny European country like Portugal receives 30000 illegal immigrants a year, and they are not sending this country to hell. The politicians are, but that's another story. Personally, I think that America's big pet on the Indian and Pacific oceans has lost their reason in demanding that the Taleban be polite to their Western prisioners. Wise men say that if you want others to treat you well, you treat well the others. 'Wise'... phff... such a useless word nowdays.

Patents stifle innovation

On the news today: Finally the Brazilian government decided not to care about any pharmaceutical patents and keep produciong their own AIDS medicine at a fraction of the cost. The UN has praised the initiative, the USA and industry giant Roche obviously not and threaten to retaliate. A beautiful example of who's good and righteous in the world today. Brazil today has one of the most efficient AIDS prevention plans thanks to 'generic' medicines, and hopefully will set a precedent for other countries to bring the giant pharmaceutical cartel down to its knees, and the Europe vs Bayer case will probably give another push in the right direction.

Second Bad Libel?

Debate Tuesday: Do religions only have good principles and their organizations (that is, churches) subvert them? Or are there religions with bad principles?

Oh, shite. 'Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones'. I'm not joking, it is for real. Oh dear... I only hope it doesn't mean Jar-Jar Binks' clones.

Samurai voitures

Ronin: the best action flick of recent years, since Léon. It is quite surprising an American director, John Frankheimer, was able to create the ultimate European racin'n'shootin' fest. Robert de Niro, one of my favourite American actors is there, along with 'Léon' himself, Jean Reno. Their mission, to retrieve a suitcase (don't worry about what's inside). And to so, they'll be engaged in some of the most spectacular shooting scenes and pursuits ever. People acustomed to American car pursuits will be wondering what cars are those (they're Audi, Citroën, BMW, Peugeot, classic Mercedes) and why do those cars get damaged when they go up the pavement at 120km/h, or why do they always slide on sharp corners and why do they run over people on narrow and crowded streets, unlike American 'voitures' that seem to have perfect traction control, unless a bit of slide helps to the clichéd crossroad pile-up. And also, unlike the American's rather daft police, a small city in Ronin is likely to have a huge crowd of policemen and police cars in the streets the day after a bloodbath. Actually, Ronin came out three years ago, and I watched it yet again yesterday. I should now go rent it too.

Sadistic software

Yesterday I accidentally deleted 80 megs worth of Unreal Tournament addons. After screaming "Noooooooo!" for a while, I decided to search for an 'undelete' program on the Internet. And what did I find? A 'freeware' that "can scan your hard drive partitions and list all deleted files that may still be recoverable. As an emergency recovery solution, it is intended as a first step and requires that you purchase Undelete 2.0 in order to recover any files you may want back." Freeware, huh? What about, 'sadisticware'? Other 'freeware' undeleters weren't much better, and needless to say, I'm downloading everything again.

Faster site, less hits per day: I removed the Weblogs.com reciprocal banner from this webpage, as this page would stop loading until their Javascript code would load too, which meant this website had to rely on the Weblogs.com server. Which wasn't nice.

I felt fuzzy

Yesterday I finally made an appearance in the Publico newspaper, in an article about the Agência 'paracultural shop'. I'm there, on a full color photo in Sunday's 'Local' suplement, though my friend Alex's cheek manages to steal the show. Nice. The article, however isn't so good. The journalist misspelled my name ('Duarte Sousa', they wrote), and thankfully I must say, as the journalist completely bastardised our answers in the interview. I think that's a lesson for us all.



Design never mean shit to me. Honest!

At last, I got everything running smoothly again. I bought a new 40Gig hard drive and Windows wasn't allowing me to copy the entire contents (system included) of the older drive to take advantage of the new, faster disk. But eventually I managed to pull that off, and everything is back to normal (with more space though).

This guy really doesn't like D-HTML scrollers: And wrote a jolly good article about 'designing sites' vs. 'designer sites', making a very good point. (via webactivism, which is, oddly, a 'designer site')

Stereo MCs?!

But is this worse? And why there are so much advertisements to 'exclusive' compilation CDs full of utter crap?

Ace, eagle, birdie, par: Why is there so much golf on American TV networks?

Today I had the strangest dream in years. I was at the International Space Station and kept worrying about the escape pods (which were plastic cilinders) not having a parachute. And someone said that the people interested on a parachute should have brought one with them. Weird.

So almost everyone is on vacation, at the beaches of Algarve, in Cuba (the Alentejo village, not the island), in Spain and in Luxembourg (!). Except me, someone who hasn't left Porto for more than one day since I came back from a short trip to London in 1999. Actually, July and August are my favourite months to stay here, because the city is nearly empty. However, that's also a problem, as less people here mean less people to hang out with and practice social skills. In the end, it ends up being the best time of the year to work. Almost. <Yawn>.

Bollocks.

Ladies and gentlemen <drum ruff>... It's the Extremely Irritating Things in Webshites Special! <hi-hats>:

1. Advertising: Is there a better way to put the 'H' in 'website'? Pop-up, pop-under, giga-banners and even text-based ads suck. Of course, insistent pop-ups or any other form of exaggerated advertising will manage to take out the 'web' in 'webshite'.

2. MIDI music: Satan loves MIDI. 'Nuff said.

3. 'We are the cutting edge': Bragging will get design sites the well-deserved 'H'. Unless it's a joke.

4. 'We are the broadband cutting edge': Let me put this straight: Modems end up being faster than most cable & DSL connections. And modems are not fond of sad excuses to abuse bandwidth.

5. Graphics from hell: People who don't know the difference between a .GIF and a .JPEG shouldn't be allowed to do websites. Neither people who compress badly, or people who use excessive graphics.

6. Slow webserver: Why? Even free hosts like Geocities are reasonably fast, and paid hosts are even faster. No mercy for l33t kids who insist in hosting their websites in their own webservers with a 14.4kbps connection.

7. D-HTML scroller: Aren't people still fed up of this toy? Sometimes we might need small scrollers, but what about the mouse-wheel friendly <iframe>?

8. Short scrollers in weblogs: And God forbid D-HTML scrollers.

9. Mega-promotion tools: I understand the odd 'Rate me!' button or the odd webring, but not a whole page filled with crap. And hide that stupid counter, please.

10. 'Skip-less' Flash intros: Unlike many I still see a purpose on the Flash intro. However, sometimes I'm not in the mood for such bells and whistles, and a responsive 'skip' is handy.

11. Corporate Flash website: 100%-Flash might be acceptable for designer sites, but not corporate webshites. Just imagine trying to copy-paste a few contacts, or some information. Bummer.

12. Ultra-table: Most weblogs might push this a bit. It always sucks to wait for a table containing 200K of data to load, because you can't read the contents. This site will only show 7 entries per page to keep the table small. Having a full month of content inside is a sure way to get your site awarded an 'H'.

13. 'Snifosis': I hate weblogs that are too personal. Nicely introspective ones are good at times, but the "my girlfriend dumped me yesterday and my goldfish died, please have pity on me" is just plain crap. Get yourself together, and get yourself some real friends!

14. 'We offer leading e-commerce solutions': No you don't. You are broke! Which is nice.

More annoyances will be published as the web evolves.

A State of Brothom

A few years ago, I recorded an audio CD at home containing a few tracks I had downloaded by a Finnish guy called Lassi Nikko. People would tell me it was crap, that it was electronic music from loners to loners. I always had a hidden talent to see the future when music is concerned, so now take this: BrothomStates (Lassi Nikko) is Warp Records' newest star. His debut release called Qtio EP will be out August 6th, and a full length record (Claro) will follow on September 17th. In the meantime you can download a few live bootlegs and a full-length MP3 album from his own website, and get some of his older XM/S3M/IT releases (on the 'Dune' alias) on Scene.org.