It is said that in 1976 Bill Gates wrote some sort of anti-piracy manifesto, because back then 'information wants to be free' was still a serious motto. However, nobody else in the world has perhaps as profited from piracy as Bill Gates himself. 'Warez distros' of Windows or Office are everywhere, but distributions of Solaris or WordPerfect are not. I'm not saying Microsoft actively pushes forward piracy to help them win a market-share, but piracy was perhaps their biggest help in building a Monopoly. It's fairly simple: If everyone has a pirate copy of Windows at home, then their employers (which have stricter laws over them) will have to buy Windows since there won't be so many experts on Unix or other operating systems. At least in Europe and Asia, most computers sold are store-assembled bulk models. Since PCs exist, shops would install DOS and later Windows free of charge. This is plain piracy and a damn good help if you are building a monopoly on your products. It's much better to have an army of people who can only use Windows than to sell every single copy. Now, under the pressure of the local authorities, many computer sellers are installing Linux instead. Of course people who buy such coputers will eventually get a friend to install Windows, because its monopoly consists of people's heads, rather their hard-drives. Does anyone really believe Microsoft sold Windows copies to 97% of the world's computers?

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>.