Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.

1 June 2005

Google Translator: The Universal Language:

At the recent web cast of the Google Factory Tour, researcher Franz Och presented the current state of the Google Machine Translation Systems. He compared translations of the current Google translator, and the status quo of the Google Research Lab’s activities. The results were highly impressive. A sentence in Arabic which is now being translated to a nonsensical “Alpine white new presence tape registered for coffee confirms Laden” is now in the Research Labs being translated to “The White House Confirmed the Existence of a New Bin Laden Tape.” […]

This is the Rosetta Stone approach of translation. Let’s take a simple example: if a book is titled “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” in English, and the German title is “Also sprach Zarathustra”, the system can begin to understand that “thus spoke” can be translated with “also sprach”. […]

Now imagine this: you specified you speak English only. What does the Google Browser do when it encounters a Japanese page? It will show you an English version of it. You wouldn’t even notice it’s Japanese, except for text contained within graphics or Flash, and a little icon Google might show that indicates Auto-translation has been triggered. After a while, you might even forget about the Auto-translation. To you, the web would just be all-English. Your surfing behavior could drastically change because you’re now reading many Japanese sources, as well as the ones in all other languages.

It looks so simple to design, the way they put it.

Like any Windowsian, when OS X was originally released I had nothing but lust for the transparent background window titlebars (the same that gave birth to horrendous blue titlebars in every X-like skin for two years). I’m sad, so sad, ready to cry, that they disappeared before I even had the opportunity to actually meet them. And what was wrong with them anyhow? (Besides not quite working with Steve’s beloved brushed metal windows?)

2 June

What’s the idea? Da Vinci Code AV, compatible with iChat AV for your greatest enjoyment? (Yeah, I know it’s actually much more symbolic and it actually does fit the main, uh… gimmick of the, uh… “book”. But still. At first glance, it only inspires me a reference to iChat. Besides, as it happens, the server may very well implode by tomorrow morning, and nobody will see this post, so I might as well save it.)

3 June

Humilité on the blogs:

Contrary to what most people think — and particularly the many reporters who interview us about the topic — blogs are absolutely not platforms for an ego to be stroked. You see, a personal blog is the exact opposite. It’s an entirely unexpected modesty teaching.

If I am to submit what I learnt from my [limited] experience, I’d even say blogs are uncannily violent to their authors. Whatever the level of assurance you may have when you begin, you’ll find a multitude of responses: from the people who jump at your throat every little misstep you take to those who’ll ignore you a bit too ostensibly, or the hard to please readers who’ll demand their daily fix.

4 June

Listen to the authorities and die :

The people in the Twin Towers who ignored the instructions from the cops to stay put survived. The ones who paid attention to them died. […]

This disobedience had nothing to do with panic. The report documents how evacuees stopped to help the injured and assist the mobility-impaired, even to give emotional comfort. Not panic but what disaster experts call reasoned flight ruled the day.

6 June

I don’t know why it shocked me so much as to take a picture, but I find it so ridiculous to baptize a packaging system according to the noise it makes when you microwave it. Besides, I didn’t even hear it whistle at all.

You can feel the pepper. And the lime. As for the ginger, I can’t tell, but I was definitely in better shape after than before (I caught a cold a couple of days ago, due to the air conditioner being too close to the bed, and the bed being too close to the ground.) In short, it’s rather good, and rather energizing.

7 June

Bréville Plage

I couldn’t be bothered to wait for the proper sunset. Maybe next time.

So What Is Rosetta, Anyway?:

Of course, trying to sell my iMac G5 to finance a future upgrade is now likely to make me lose quite a bit of money, and the fact that I’m sitting in front of a machine that will depreciate steeply until 2007 is a major pain. That I’m not happy with at all, no matter how good the hardware is.

Agreed, definitely. If I had known this was coming, I’d have gone with the Mac mini in a heartbeat (which would be a pity, actually). Can’t imagine how Apple expects to sell any high-end hardware for the next year or two.
 

I’d hazard that 10.5 (Leopard) might well be the last PowerPC version - and that 10.6 is likely to be Intel-only.

Geez, they’ve been maintaining twin versions of each OS X version since 10.0 — you’d think they’d at least be able to go through with this until 11.0.
 

One thing’s for sure: Windows emulation is going to be one hell of a lot faster, and a lot of speculation is certain to be heading down that road soon.

Indeed.

8 June

9 June

Apple & Intel: What you need to know [via]:

Will my Intel-based Mac be able to run Windows?

It seems likely, although Apple won’t support it. Someone will probably figure a way to install Windows on a Mac system so that you can choose to boot into either OS X or Windows. In addition, consider a future version of Virtual PC that lets you run PC applications at full speed, on a window within your Mac (or on a second monitor). There are some intriguing possibilities here for Mac users who must use Windows applications some of the time.

But if all Macs one day will be able to run Windows, won’t application developers stop creating Mac versions of their programs?

It’s possible, but not very likely. Mac users are Mac users because they want to run software in the Mac interface. The large software companies that publish programs on the Mac understand that, and so do the small Mac developers who are making the coolest OS X apps around.

…and other questions and answers, but I’m quoting these because the second one is unseen before, and particulary interesting. Even though the answer they give here might be a tad optimistic.

Picking up the pieces: John Siracusa mourns the Power PC [via]:

I can think of two reasons, both of which probably contributed to the end result. First, it seems like IBM promised Apple something that it failed to deliver: a 3GHz G5 one year after the 2GHz G5 was announced. Steve Jobs stood on a public stage and declared it a fait acompli […] Now Jobs is angry at IBM, and an angry Jobs is not pleasant to deal with. […]

And IBM doesn’t really care who wins [the console wars] because they get paid for every single unit sold: Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft. What’s 5 million Macs a year compared to 20 million game consoles? And over 5 years, IBM can sell the “same chip” (maybe with fabrication refinements that save IBM money anyway) up to 100 million times.

[…]

Many a “PC weenie” has been won over to the Mac side by the allure of strange, new hardware. For CPU geeks, its the same. Look no further than our own Hannibal whose slow ascent to PowerBook glory was guided by a fascination with AltiVec, plentiful registers, and an orthogonal ISA. Sure, x86 has the market-share and usually the speed, but is it elegant? Does it turn the CPU geek knobs all the way to 11? Is it sexy? No, not really. In fact, it’s pretty darned ugly. […]

It will pain me to know the contortions that instructions are going through in an x86 CPU inside a Mac.

See also the definition of AltiVec, before it’s dead. And I know most of my readers are annoyed at my quoting long geeky articles about Apple and stuff, but it’s not so easy and quick for me as it seems, since I have to make a French translation each time (Heavens know why, for the past couple of weeks I started translating quotes again, in order to feel useful or something).

And, to make up for the past geekiness, Pre-Pride Preparation:

Let’s face it.  You’re going to see some hotties that are going to totally make you feel horrible about yourself. That’s a given. However, you can lessen the shock to your system by voluntarily exposing yourself to beautiful men prior to the weekend. (Honest.)

Go to the gym and compare yourself with the overly-perfect gym bunnies.  Get a copy of Men’s Health and look at the pictures while standing naked in front of the mirror. Just over-load those self-hating neurons in your brain and yes,… it’s gonna hurt.

10 June

Oh great, now I too will have to refresh my design, because all of a sudden it’s gotten old. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now, but I’m unimaginably reluctant to go back to my PC in order to work some Photoshop and CSS. And since I don’t think it’s going to change quite soon, the redesign will have to wait.

Plus, I’m actually back to a semblance of beginning of a writing mood — it’s amazing what two excellent episode of Carnivàle can do to someone’s creativity and morale after ten days of slow dive into depression — so I guess I’ve got better stuff to focus on than my blog’s layout. Like, for instance, why my air conditioner has been trying to drive me insane for the past two days, waking me up at dawn with sounds like doors slamming and furniture crashing. Now I have to wait until it does quit conditioning air, and drive 100km to have it replaced. Until then, it’ll just keep toying with my sanity. The hardest part is refraining from throwing it out the window — the store might not want to take it back afterwards.

I hate technology. Hey, it’d been sort of a while since I last wrote that.

11 June

www.garoo.net — version 1871.7

I wanted to go for something much more different, but couldn’t make it good enough. I’m not in a Photoshop mood these days, so we’ll do with that.

Doesn’t work very well with Internet Explorer, but hey it’s 2005 now so just upgrade to Firefox already or die.

What’s Really Behind the Apple-Intel Alliance:

People close to I.B.M. said pricing was a central issue, while Mr. Jobs insisted on stage Monday that I.B.M. had failed to meet promised performance measures. […]

In the end, Mr. Jobs was given no choice but to move his business to Intel, when I.B.M. executives said that without additional Apple investment they were unwilling to pursue the faster and lower-power chips he badly needs for his laptop business.

Via Daring Fireball, which sums it up:

In other words, it’s not that IBM couldn’t keep up, it’s that they wanted Apple to pay for the development costs for the new generations of chips.

Finally an explanation that really makes sense.

12 June

13 June

7.2 Megapixels In Your Pocket:

One of the coolest things about the video capabilities, however, is what people have been calling “Tivo-mode”. In this mode, I can keep pointing the camera for however long I wish and when I hit the shutter button, the camera begins recording from 5 seconds in the past. You can imagine how useful this is when you’re at an event and you want to catch the action but you’re not sure exactly when that may be. Why waste recording time when nothing is happening?

I’ve been wondering for a while why every camera doesn’t do that — why everything doesn’t work that way, now that we’re technically capable of it (at the expense of battery life, of course, in all cases where there’s a battery).

Since I was getting fed up with posting half of my contents into a general void, the main RSS feed now includes updates for all sections of this site (except the wiki, which has no feed or point). If you had already subscribed to the snaplog or gallery feeds besides the blog, you can unsubscribe, or you’ll receive everything twice; if you hadn’t, well… now you have.

It’d been a while since I had wanted to do that, because it doesn’t make that much sense for anyone to subscribe to only one part of the site (and because I hadn’t originally realized that the way Bloglines offers to check boxes for each feed you want to subscribe to on a site isn’t the norm), but it required… you know… work.

P.S. Come to think about it, no, not the minilog. Poor signal to noise ratio.

14 June

15 June

A nice take on the cavern theme (use the single right-hand arrows to go forward — with or without the red logo on them, it’s the same, and when you’ve got to explain how to navigate a site you’re linking to there really is a problem), which reminds me I forgot to ask you: considering the western civilization is on the verge of implosion, why are we still bothering with investing in the future? If I spent all my money and saved a cyanide capsule in case, by extraordinary luck, the world as we know it hadn’t ended yet before I went broke, would I really be missing out on something?

Yeah, I know that’s not a very original thought — I’m only spelling out the feeling and (non-)motivation of an entire generation. Which goes to show.

16 June

— As for me, I’m not too interested in written serials, as an author, dunno why. Not my culture. Neither Zola nor Stephen King :)

— I’d rather make an HBO show, too, but, well… :)

— I didn’t necessarily mean HBO, I’d be perfectly happy with finding a good illustrator and making a webcomic. But, for me, serial is visual. That’s the way it is :)
Maybe because the serial relies on memory, and I’ve got more of a visual memory. Yes, that must be exactly why, actually. I’m even going to blog that so I remember.

[…]

— As for Lost, it’s coming in ten days… but dubbed in French, and on TF1, which means there are huge chances they’ll cut pieces out, or show episodes out of sequence…

— I’ve seen the beginning on a Belgian channel, in French… I don’t know whether it’s me who aren’t used to it anymore (I don’t watch TV at all) but I found the dubbing horrible: no sound ambiance, and dubbing artists as good at acting as me with a shrapnel piece in my brain.
Eh… I’m not saying that to discourage you… but then, considering it’s TF1 you mustn’t be expecting much anyway. ;)

— Sure :)
Last time I watched a show on TF1 was Angel, and that was before they stopped in mid show, and it was out of sequence with missing episodes. And scenes, too. I think I’m gonna keep an eye on the TV newsgroups and stop watching as soon as a poster confirms they’re botching it.
Which is stupid, because I’m certain it will necessarily happen, and I’ll be that much more frustrated by stopping in the middle than if I never start until it’s released on DVD. (Although, if they’re TF1 Vidéo DVDs…)

Reproduced without authorization from Xarro.

18 June

C’mon Billy:

The rise of “you’re an homophobe if you don’t like queens, even though you’re gay” is beginning to annoy me; it’d be like telling a woman who criticizes Christina Aguilera for her vulgarity that she’s a misogynist.

I wouldn’t be the last to call homophobe on a gay man declaring his hatred for queens, but the analogy is interesting.

 

— I don’t like queens; if I wanted to sleep with girls I’d be straight.

— Well, if I wanted to sleep with straight men I’d change sex.

Oh, right, I do know why I’m not at ease with written serials: continuity.

When you’re doing a comic or TV series, the common thread is visual: the drawing style, the actors, the photography — the credits, even. You can do a Cops parody and it’s still an X-Files episode. You can do one full hour of people just staring at each other, and it’s still a Carnivàle episode. You can do any kind of filler — story-less gags, full-page illustrations, all kind of sketches, meta stuff… — and it’s still your webcomic. Whatever strikes your fancy, whatever you’re in a mood to do, you can do it when you don’t feel like advancing the general plot right now.

All of these, in writing, you can’t. You don’t have a visual aspect to hold on to: all you have is your writing style, and your story. You can’t take a vacation from both at the same time, and you can hardly take a vacation from either, because they’re tied together. Once you’re started, you’ve got to go on the same tracks, there’s no way out.

Sure, it’s fine when it’s a paid gig for a newspaper or magazine. But not for a hobby, ,and particularly not for me.

19 June

Au fait, maintenant que j’en ai un… comment je suis censé le prononcer, en français, pour avoir l’air intelligent sans faire trop frimeur ? C’est un imac ou un aïmac ? (Et ipod ou aïpod ? émac ou imac ? parce que c’est précisément à cause du risque de confusion, en français, entre iMac et eMac que la question est importante.)

Notez que c’est purement consultatif, vu que je persiste à dire (dans ma tête, parce que j’ai rarement l’occasion d’en parler à voix haute) macoèsse ixe, contre l’avis général.

Notez aussi que je me doute de ce que vous allez me répondre, parce que, vous, je vous connais, ça ne vous gêne pas d’avoir l’air de frimeurs qui se la pètent avec leur aïmac.

20 June

21 June

PowerPuff Girls Doujinshi

“Doujinshi: Fan based art inspired by official anime or manga.” (Google)

Si vous n’avez jamais regardé Cartoon Network, laissez tomber.

22 June

La fin de l’email:

Even my friends spam me, sending me the same e-mail messages over and over again, never stopping until they get a reply.

Bad friends, change friends, don’t you think? You’ve got to know how to teach them: my friends know full well that, if I don’t answer a message, I will later — or not at all. And they get used to it. To show you how it works: I almost haven’t got any left now.

We wouldn’t accept that from any other communication medium (imagine for a second if, out of 10 incoming phone calls, seven were dialing errors or purely commercial calls; who’d still answer their phone?).

Oh, but I thought that was exactly the way it was going in the US? And in my room, too, actually: I don’t know exactly who had my number before, but I got so tired of receiving daily mistaken calls (granted, I get very easily tired of getting calls) that I simply unplugged my phone. Which isn’t much of a bother, since I never get legitimate calls anyway (see previous paragraph).

And, as I am reading it, it becomes clear to me that instant messaging (Skype or other) is far from a simple amusing gimmick, but can really constitute a viable alternative to e-mail.

Chat would be a viable alternative if you could trust users to choose the best available system, or at least not the worst: everyone I ever talk to insists they want to chat with me on MSN, the only IM system that doesn’t allow you to send a message to an offline contact. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s included in Windows, or that the MSN client is the one that lets you play most easily with avatar pictures (and webcams), and I don’t know which of the two options is more depressing.

Not to mention, of course, that using MSN, ICQ, Yahoo or AIM implies to trust a single centralized server (well, not for MSN, though, since it doesn’t store messages). If I’ve got to choose, I’d rather trust my personal communications to the care of Wanadoo and OVH than Microsoft or AOL. Uh, well, okay, even as I write this sentence, I’m not so sure anymore.

But there remains the question of communication quality. And if you’ve ever had a chat with a MSN regular you don’t need me to get into the specifics.

23 June

Yesterday my stepfather found it odd I’d pile up so many food cans.

It’s just that I don’t like being limited in my choices when it’s time to cook my dinner. If I want to cook beans three times in the week, I can, it’s all in stock. Doesn’t it make sense?

Patent absurdity [via]:

If patent law had been applied to novels in the 1880s, great books would not have been written. If the EU applies it to software, every computer user will be restricted, says Richard Stallman. […]

Here’s one example of a hypothetical literary patent:

Claim 1: a communication process that represents, in the mind of a reader, the concept of a character who has been in jail for a long time and becomes bitter towards society and humankind.

Claim 2: a communication process according to claim 1, wherein said character subsequently finds moral redemption through the kindness of another.

Claim 3: a communication process according to claims 1 and 2, wherein said character changes his name during the story.

If such a patent had existed in 1862 when Les Misérables was published, the novel would have infringed all three claims — all these things happened to Jean Valjean in the novel. Hugo could have been sued, and would have lost. The novel could have been prohibited — in effect, censored — by the patent holder. […]

You might think these ideas are so simple that no patent office would have issued them. We programmers are often amazed by the simplicity of the ideas that real software patents cover — for instance, the European Patent Office has issued a patent on the progress bar, and one on accepting payment via credit cards. These would be laughable if they were not so dangerous.

As it happens, claims 1 and 2 are pretty close to covering the story of the novel I had planned to write. Is that sign destined to encourage me to actually get started, or to find another idea?

P.S. Unless the absence of comments on this post is a sign that nobody gives a damn.

State of the Desktop

I was going to make a long, detailed post with illustrations and all… and realized it would actually be a duplicate of the wiki’s contents. So instead I updated the Dalloway page’s list of all programs, accessories, widgets I use, and some details about them.

Why should you care? Because I spend all my time on the net, try every interesting program and accessory that’s been released, subscribe to any RSS feeds that can update me on whatever comes out — in short, slackers like me have a use for overbooked workers like you: sifting through a sea of software and returning with what’s really worthy.

And, as rarely happens when I start writing a blog post, I personally know of a couple readers who’ll actually be interested in this.

What you’ll see on the screenshot above (reduced by 75%, because, well, you know, it better be):

  • in the dock’s applications section, left to right: Finder, BlogThumb (personal AppleScript that captures and uploads thumbnails for my blog), X Resource Graph, Safari, NetNewsWire, Thunderbird, Adium X, Mail, iCal, Address Book, TextWrangler, VoodooPad Lite, CocoThumbX, MacJanitor, iTunes, hotTunes, Clutter, Grab (don’t ask me where some of the icons come from, I downloaded every possible icon set on the web)

  • in the dock’s shortcuts section, left to right: a temporary shortcut to a game I have to try, the ~garoo folder, the ~/Documents folder, a pictures folder, the ~/Library folder, the Dashboard widgets folder, a Saved Searches folder (with elementary Spotlight smart folders: Label Blue, Label Red, Label Yellow, Modified This Week), the /Applications folder, the trash

  • in the menubar, left to right: Adium, iSnip, QuickSilver, the AppleScript menu (which I don’t ever use), the Keychain Access menu (for the Lock Screen option), the fast user switching menu, the menu control, MenuCalendarClock, Spotlight

  • on the desktop, the X Resource Graph window and the Clutter shortcuts

Links, details, and everything you can’t see on the capture (plug-ins, extensions, widgets), in the (almost) complete list of software I use on Dalloway.

25 June

Meh.

Et puis… passe encore que personne ne m’ait invité à passer le week-end de la gay pride marche fière à Paris, parce que les quelques personnes qui n’ont pas (raison d’) avoir peur de me parler savent que j’aurais refusé. Mais pourquoi je n’ai pas reçu d’invitation à la soirée de Têtu ? Moi !

Tant que j’ai un post ouvert — et vu que ce n’est pas hors sujet pour un post dans la catégorie “gay” — pourquoi la diffusion de Sex and the City sur Téva se met à bégayer comme un trente-trois tours ? Même pour des sous-titres ils trouvent le moyen d’être en retard sur leur programme…

A moins qu’ils prévoient d’arrêter la diffusion pour l’été et de ne commencer la dernière saison qu’à la rentrée — ou jamais (c’est de Téva qu’on parle, il faut être lucide, c’est déjà un miracle qu’ils aient diffusé cinq saisons en VO à un horaire quasi fixe). Argh.

Soso, So Good [via]:

Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame, may have gained 30 pounds living on McDonald’s for a month, but Soso Whaley had an altogether different experience — both losing weight and dropping cholesterol points. […]

Even without seeing the film I could tell from the clips and the description by Spurlock that this was nothing more than junk science masquerading as legitimate scientific discovery.

Same here.

The real motivating factor that took me back to the Golden Arches for another round in February 2005 was the Oscar nomination for Super Size Me. I was not surprised but certainly disappointed that the Academy nominated Spurlock’s film for an Oscar for Best Documentary. To protest this nomination of such a blatant piece of propaganda as a legitimate documentary I once again ate for 30 days at McDonald’s and experienced another 10-pound weight loss. […]

This was not intended to promote a McDonald’s diet for losing weight, it was meant to demonstrate that some of our current belief systems are incorrect.

Thank Heavens — ever since I first read about Supersize Me I’ve been waiting for someone to go forward and say this. But are the American media ready to put emphasis on someone’s injuction for people to take responsibility for their lives?

I’m so tired of not blogging anything of interest here, and of knowing that most visitors (and even regular readers) believe this site really, wholly represents me, that I’m (again?) feeling like launching a thematic group blog. A multi-autored blog so I could express myself more, and better — that may sound as a paradox, but isn’t that the motivation behind most of those?

The hardest part wouldn’t be to find a theme (well, let’s see, television perhaps? or something else — but not computing, the web or Apple, because those are already too crowded, even in the sole French blogosphere) but people I’d want to share my space, and voice, with. Bloggers worthy of me. Assuming there are any.

Yeah, it’s one of those days. It’s summer, and I’m locked up inside, with drawn blinds even because otherwise my air conditioning can’t keep up, and it’s even Gay Pride in Paris, and do I hate my life.

Like Keanu, you too can know Kick Ass Kung-Fu

Such a great picture to illustrate how that game system is accessible to any gamer with no particular martial arts training.

I’ll guess I’ll buy one right now, then. Or maybe I’ll just wait for the porn edition.

26 June

On Sith, Specifically Those Seeking Revenge…:

I know everyone and his dog (note “everyone” is singular, not plural) are posting in their blogs (one + dog = plural, now) about this whole Sith thing.

 

Unrelated, but coming from the same blog, On Being Crazy:

So, is genius linked with craziness? [No, so far it isn’t original. Read on.] Is this why we aren’t all geniuses? Is mankind only so smart because if we get any smarter, we cease to function correctly? Maybe it’s just not evolutionarily advantageous to be smarter than we are; it makes us mopey, and we end up cutting our ears off when we’re trying to woo girls, which rarely results in offspring.

It’s not often I want to quote Dilbert here:

— The ancient Egyptians didn’t have patent laws.

— Oh yeah? Then how did they build the pyramids?

— Good point.

Each week since OS X’s release introduction, the same topic comes again and again in one of the many feeds I subscribe to: is Dashboard really useful? And, pretty much every time since the very first announcements (because the concept was already quite familiar, due to Konfabulator), the answer’s been: No.

It’s time for me to weigh in (like I have a weight). I still think the same way I did when I first tried Konfabulator on Windows: it’s useless because almost nobody really comprehends the concept’s (huge) interest.

Those who criticize Dashboard always bring up the same point: everything it does, websites and software utilities do it better. If you don’t use the calculator often, you don’t want to waste a tenth of your screen space (and your RAM) to keep it displayed in your Dashboard; if you do, pressing F12 then having to point and click to activate it is less convenient than using alt-tab or Quicksilver. And the same applies, of course, to all those widgets that give you access to websites. What’s the point of keeping Google, Amazon or whatever in your Dashboard when you can have them in your Safari bookmarks (or, then again, in Quicksilver)?

That’s because nobody — including Apple’s own developers, it seems — has realized that the whole point of Dashboard isn’t to offer access to utilities but to display information. Press a single key, have access at a glance (as opposed to anything requiring additional mouse clicks) to all the information you can need: five-day weather (Apple widget, I didn’t say they were completely off-base), current iTunes track (AlbumArt), your iCal schedule (iCal Events, and you can also find to-do-list widgets), your online contacts (AdiumList, there are iChat equivalents), and… and… oh, right, that’s pretty much all of it, because informative widgets aren’t many — particularly considering that such information often needs localization (TV schedules, traffic info, etc.). Among the good ideas I don’t have a use for, you can also find Apple’s Stocks widgets, webcam and photolog displays, or rudimentary RSS widgets, which can be (transitorily) useful to people who don’t know about aggregators yet. And that’s about it, and that’s far from crowding my 20-incher. Because most developers are looking for ideas in the wrong direction.

Forget utilities. Just think of what information the users might want to keep just a click away. Or a non-click, more accurately. The great strength of Dashboard is that it only takes a keypress, or a shove of the pointer in a screen corner, to display a screen where each piece of information is always at the same place, where the eye immediately knows where to find what it’s looking for — it has a memory you mouse pointer doesn’t have.

Think: portal. Even Google is going this way now, if you don’t believe me.

Now if only the international geek community read my blog, I wouldn’t feel like I’m talking to myself here.

P.S. The presence of the dictionary and translation widgets on my Dashboard’s screenshot is not in total contradiction with my post, for a reason: I don’t know any application or website grouping both functionalities in a clear and convenient way — but I’ll probably get to make my own webpage displaying both in frames. As for the screenshot and password widgets, they’re small, more practical than the corresponding utilities (every rule has its exceptions), and considering how much free space there’s on my Dashboard I can definitely afford to leave them there.

27 June

Damn… I think I’ve got the site structure figured out for my TV blog. Now I’ve got to decide whether to go through with it. I hate that particular moment.

Comme je n’ai jamais été un grand fan d’histoire-géo (et que dans “Dust Bowl” il y a “Bowl”, donc je pensais que c’était plus géographique qu’historique), ce n’est qu’après la fin de Carnivàle que je me suis décidé à regarder ce que c’était, et pourquoi ils étaient si sales, finalement.

Wikipedia :

Pendant la grande dépression, une partie du Middle West, cœur agricole des États-Unis, fut ravagée par la sécheresse et par de terribles tempêtes de poussière qui pouvaient durer plusieurs jours. Ces tempêtes détruisirent toutes les récoltes, dépouillèrent les champs de leur terre, la remplaçant par de la poussière, ensevelirent habitations et matériel agricole et jetèrent des milliers de fermiers sur les routes, en direction de l’ouest. […]

Cette catastrophe serait due à un abus dans l’utilisation du labour.

Après le crash de 1929, c’est vraiment pas de pot, quand même. Heureusement qu’ils ont eu la seconde guerre mondiale pour se refaire.

Pour dix points, qui me rappelle comment s’appelle l’équivalent français, qu’on a appris au collège, où la campagne verdoyante s’érodait gravement parce qu’on avait coupé tout ce qui dépassait pour agrandir et fusionner les parcelles agricoles ?

La prochaine fois, je ferai une recherche sur fr.wikipedia.org avant de passer un quart d’heure à traduire les mots compliqués de la version anglaise, dont j’aime bien la conclusion, au passage :

The Dust Bowl has been featured in the critically acclaimed show Carnivale (sic) in which the shows characters (re-sic) endure the hardships of the times while coping with other problems.

Coping with other problems”, ça c’est une façon intéressante de résumer la série.

P.S. J’avais le mot “bocage” en tête, mais pas le réflexe de le chercher sur fr.wikipedia.org. C’est chose faite. Le terme que je cherchais était peut-être “remembrement”, mais je ne suis pas sûr.

It appears [via every other blog] that T0m Cru1se might not have gone crazy — at least, not as suddently as appearances would have you believe. He’d only be in a period of euphoria after an important promotion up the great 5c1ent0l0gy ladder.

You’ll excuse the 133t here, but there are topics you don’t want to associate yourself with on Google. And, considering there have recently been rumors that our Second Prime Minister may have some keenness for those people, I’m not even sure I’m joking here.

28 June

The new iTunes does podcasts, there’s almost nobody in the Language / French category, and Engadget made a howto (for Mac, and a long time ago) about podcasting Skype conversations. It’s time to get to it.

P.S. Apple has often been criticized for their habit of restricting iTunes functionality with each new release, in a bid to keep all the majors happy. And now they offer, right within the iTunes Music Store, a whole bunch of podcasts that quietly, and freely, redistribute mp3s. Right click, “Convert Selection to mp3”, and the track is now in your iTunes library. Isn’t there a little problem here? If I had a music podcast, I’d be particularly afraid of subpoenas right now.

A chaque fois que je sors de ma chambre et que je fais escale au salon pour faire scratch-scratch au chat, S4rk est à la télé, sur une chaîne info. (Je sais bien que c’est pareil pour tout le monde, mais en ce qui me concerne j’évite de regarder les infos, c’est mauvais pour ma tension.) Et j’insulte la télé.

A ce rythme, la seule chance qu’on ait qu’il ne soit pas élu dans deux ans, ce serait qu’un des sous-fifres du gouvernement se décide à en avoir marre. Qu’un M1n1stre des Transports (on y prend goût, au 133t, mais ça me passera, vous en faites pas — de toute façon, ce n’est pas souvent que je parle de ce genre de sujet, et que je ne veux pas apparaître dans Google) se lève et l’interpelle, par exemple : “Eh, $@#%!, d’abord, occupe-toi de ton cul, et ensuite, si tu voulais plus de radars, tu pouvais le dire au Conseil des M1n1stres au lieu de garder ça pour quand y’aurait des caméras !” C’est sûr, ça ne doit pas être facile quand l’intéressé est en même temps président du parti. Mais il y a bien des m1n1stres de gauche qui l’ont fait, non ?

Melon chewing gum with a raspberry liquid core. Excellent, and so seasonal.

For a while now I’ve been thinking that current technologies should allow for the creation of new and improved (sugar-free, preferredly) candy varieties, mixing flavors and textures, being really original. Looks like it’s coming.

Although I remember reading that fake sugar makes you diabetic just as much as real sugar. Unless it’s only true of aspartame, and polyols only cause digestive troubles, and ultimately colon cancers?

Google Earth is available for free [via] and you must download it.

I had recently read a post detailing it while it was still (I think) in beta, and it looked quite impressive. Well, turns out it is, indeed. The contents are less detailed for Europe than the US (and even less for Smallville, obviously), but it’s still interesting enough; and the screenshots don’t show the globe animating to follow the mouse or to move smoothly from one place to another.

You’ve got to try it if you’ve got a PC (they promise a Mac version is on the way — oh, and you’ll need broadband and a decent video card, too).

P.S. Google Earth should be made compulsory in every school. Fat chance of that happening in France.

29 June

King Kong trailer (via gadgetryblog.com)

Peter Jackson se fait son petit Jurassic Park, tranquille. Et prometteur.

De l’adoption:

During my school year, I took part, for one and a half hour a week, in a charity program bringing a little school support and happiness to shelter children. They were orphans, or kids taken from their parents because they had been abused, not been sent to school, or not properly raised (for the cases I know). […]

Before I went through this, I was rather against adoption for gays (under the influence of an education based on family, dad, mom). This experience changed my point of view. Because, considering the kids’ situation, I thought you shouldn’t be thinking of “the best possible to offer them” but “the least bad to offer them”.

Those children are hurting for love. Really. They don’t need a “family, building block of society” frame. They already did the family thing, and it failed them. They need an affective frame. They need people who love them, who help them, 24/7, 365 days a year.

MacDailyNews Exclusive: Leaked images of Motorola Apple iTunes phone?

A purple candybar that lights up green, with a mock clickwheel on the keypad?! I never had much faith in Motorola, and I already thought Apple had made the worst possible choice for a partnership, but I never could imagine something so outlandish.

Hell, it’s so insane it might even work.

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