i'm a copyleft commie!

the flag

A commentary on the CNET News.com article interview, 'Gates taking a seat in your den'

Yes folks, I'm a Copyrightleft Commie, and I'm proud to be one! But wait a minute, how can I be a Commie when I've earnestly declared wanting a share of any commercial profit made from my works?

But seriously folks, for all the PC technology marketing that he has blessed us with (it is during His Billness' rule that we have a computer in almost every home), he sometimes just don't have a clue. The flag above links to BoingBoing. Also from Lessig (where I discovered the link for the second third time before deciding to post).

But inside, I still hope he's just pretending to be against progress (for the benefit of his investors), or something...

in other news: the disaster's not over yet, folks:)

addendum: I should kick myself in the head for not realising this earlier, but Bill Gates also dissed Firefox in the interview! (read it before Lessig's blog from Bed Goodger's). Talk about making enemies. Whew....

Furthermore on Bill's statement that "the idea that the United States has led in creating companies, creating jobs, because we've had the best intellectual-property system--there's no doubt about that in my mind,", one only has to look at how fast (among others) Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brazil has caught up both technologically and culturally (somewhat through Free Software and Culture in Brazil's and Malaysia's case) to see the fallacy in that copyright law comparison. And if they keep up the pace, just think how soon it would be before these countries would surpass. Remember folks, just some fifty-odd years ago (right after World War II) these nations were in econonomic, socio-cultural shambles.

on the other hand

But I digress. This is the man which almost single-handedly brought personal computing to the consumer masses. And I guess while I'm at it I should also shed some positive light unto the interview. Yes, some of Mr. Gate's comments actually do have a point.

search (aka. the semantic web)

CNET (C): It sounds like the next step in search might be audio and video.
Bill Gates (B): Oh, sure, everybody is working on those things, but just take the idea of finding your local pizza place and doing that right; search doesn't do that well today. Search is really crummy today--it's just that it used to be really crummy, and now it's better, and there never was anything like this before. So most of the results people get back today are irrelevant results. Deep analysis can take us much further, and that's why we're investing a lot, and you'll see us more very rapidly.

I agree completely. Almost. Search still sucks. Content still sucks. A lot of high quality free content is available on the Web but it takes hand-crawling to find it. But it is not true that there "never (has been) anything like this before". "Deep analysis" is not new. In my opinion this is all because too few members of our illustrious World Wide Web of hyperlink developers are actively working on, or have even ever actually heard of, the semantic web [from Tim Berners-Lee].

The semantic web was the original vision of Tim Berners-Lee. It is kinda like the present day World Wide Web, connected by hyperlinks, with data packets traveling the world at the speed of light. The difference is that the hypertext that we create is just that; pure hypertext. The presentation (style, or layout) is suggested by an external file (using CSS in the case of HTML documents, or XSL and XSLT for XML documents). The metadata (data about the hypertext such as its author, its creation date, its topic) is defined by an RDF file (or, like in previous HTML standards, with <meta> tags). Et cetera. Or these elements could be contained in a single document (XML) but internally would remain separate.

More proposals from the creator of the World Wide Web on the Web's architecture (also design issues). Bare in mind that TimBL's docs are more like freeform, speed-typing, techno-creative outbursts when you spot one of the many typos littered all over his site.

And so how does this separation of content from style (and other extrenuous metadata) help in creating better search technology? Well supposedly that separation would make it easier for machines to parse (or understand, makes heads of tails) of the content. Mr. Berners-Lee can explain this better than me; I suggest you follow the above links. I had tried to put explanations into words, but it's just takes more effort than I can afford right now. I still have a graduation paper to finish.

But basically HTML was not originally made to be a content layout language. And it most definitely was not originally meant to be a programming language. XHTML documents are supposed to be easy to type; you were just supposed to type plain text. The most programming anyone is supposed to do is mark content to give it context (linkage being the first context proposed). This text is inserted. This text is deleted. This is Heading 1. This part is in French. XHTML is supposed to stand for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language. And when all that context has been defined, not much computing power is needed to categorize it.

And we as a web community have got to realise something: if we don't work together toward a semantic web, do you know who will?

B: Whether it's understanding maps or virtual worlds or document analysis, today's search is nothing, and we've got the software technology that will drive it to those new levels, as well as being a very significant business.

Of course Bill could be bluffing, but even if he can't develop it himself brute force natural language analysis sounds like the kind of software that he would just love to buy. And don't tell me nobody is working on that.

But there has been progress made (web authors in particular should follow that link).

cheap internet

C: This year, there is a big push to make cheap computers for emerging markets. How is that going to have to evolve? A $300 computer is still going to be too expensive for many, probably, in Russia, India and other places.
B: Well, that's not really true. The expensive thing is the connectivity. Getting Internet connectivity is expensive. If all they had to do was pay for the computer--$300--and the communications were free, then we'd see that PC usage would be very, very big. Ironically, communications costs tend to be highest in developing countries.

Yup, 'net and phone rates really suck here. And I'd really love it if someone would start something in Indonesia like (the succesful) CUT. Yeah, we Indonesians really like to complain but rarely offer solutions now don't we:)

On the other hand, if Indonesian people would just realise that we can buy used inexpensive Rp 600.000 (US$ 70) Pentium II PCs (or brand new Via C3's). And they would still be relatively usefull for 'Netting when loaded with GNU/Linux or other Free OSes. There are many, many more people here buying used cell phones than there are using PCs. And a lot of used PCs are a lot cheaper, and a lot more usefull, than old cell phones. The Web is a rich repository of free knowledge, if you just know where to look...

But then again you'd be hard pressed to find that knowledge. Even the cheapest Indonesian ISP, TelkomNet Instan (state sponsored, with allegations of anticompetitive behavior creating near-monopolistic market dominance I might add), charges relatively expensively at about Rp 9000 (US$ 1) per hour, compared to the average monthly income percapita of about Rp 1 Million (US$ 108). Bill's still right; it still does ultimately boil down to connection costs.

Although Rp 9000 an hour (phone billing included) is much cheaper than most other Indonesian ISPs. TelkomNet's billing is low because its also run by PT Telkom, the former (at least officially) state run telephone service monopoly company that still runs most of Indonesia's local phones (it's majority stock is now owned by SingTel).

internet cafés

B: So you need to do shared PCs through cafes or community centers. We're doing a lot of so-called mesh networking research that could use wireless spectrum to try to bring those connectivity costs way, way down, and that's where you really see widespread computing breakthroughs.

And so witness the Internet Café phenomena in Jakarta and other Asian Metropolises. And the WiFi networks (both legal and quasi-legal), though these networks are still elitist. With only ivory-tower R&D conducted in that direction (no widespread public deployment of the results yet). And a significant portion of them are using pirated Microsoft software, furthering our dependence on His Billness. But at least some 'net cafés have switched to Linux servers to get better and more stable connection speeds. Now if they would only also provide Linux client stations...

I could go on (and I do want to), but I've spent more time than I can afford.

In closing, I'd like to add that perhaps Lessig does have a point when he opines "what a total (intellectual) disappointment this man is." I mean, an intellectual luddite such as myself can actually make this much commentary against him, even when what I was actually trying to do through this article was to balance negative opinions towards Bill's statemets. Yes, I was trying to support Bill. But I don't think that Bill is not philosophical. He has got to be philosophical (at least, if not philosophically good). Like Lessig I "constantly hope to be surprised (or amazed ed.) by Mr. Gates". But unlike Lessig (who claims he never was), I have been amazed by Gates. I admire the man as a skillfull marketer and businessman. I admire him as a succesfull promotor of PC technology to the masses. Without the likes of him it would be more unlikely for 'mere mortals,' non-gurus like us (or at least like me if you are a guru) to sit in front of a PC like we are doing right now.

Makes you kinda wonder: why did Bill agree to an interview just now? Could it be because RMS had also just done one? Maybe Bill should have examined the (arguably) scathing response to that interview before agreeing to his own.... High profile geeks need PR media managers.

And so I wonder: will any copyright police come knocking on my door for copying this much text from CNET? Probably not since I've got practically no audience. Supposedly creative criticism falls under Fair Use, but you never know...

addendum: and for more Copyleft Commies propaganda, Link 1 and Link 2.

in other news: yup, that's right Folks, the disaster's still not over yet:)

addendum (1/21/2005): Bill Gates has made a clarification. Details on a newer blog entry.

Posted at 9:18:40 am by ferdikom98
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here's some tips...

In response to the blog entry So, yeah over at Ruli's Meditations, I've created this little writing entitled Coding Tips for Ruli's Meditations.

I had considered just emailing Ruli directly, but I guess this thing could be usefull for other bloggers as well. But as I considered posting the writing as a blog post I found it looking a bit too long and 'unruly' (no pun intended) to be posted as an ordinary entry. Thus I've decided you can either follow the link above or browse the inline frame below.

(if this text appears, that means your browser doesn't support the <object> tag properly)

To create the above inline-frame, I used the <object> tag. And no, 'No, I did not know this inline-framing technique when you asked me way back when. I only discovered it about a month ago while exploring WDG's guides (specifically here). There are offline versions available for those guides. Okay;)

addendum: don't forget to close the <object> tag to avoid headaches:) (eg. </object>)

addendum 2: that web page inside the in-line frame is my first document I've ever made that validates as W3C certified XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS. Not this blog though (at least not yet). One step at a time...

Posted at 12:52:37 am by ferdikom98
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its not just Aceh, you know, part II

In continuation of a previous entry entries over the lack of relief attention to Nias.

So last night I arrived home at half-to-midnight (to be clear, that's 11.30 pm wib) after a long day of procrastination and (somewhat usefull) discussion with the intention of going straight to bed after checking my mail and Wikipedia watch list. Particularly I had expected someone to follow up on the somewhat lacking aid effort in Nias. It turns out that noone has, so I started a flurry of postings to Wikipedia, Wikinews, and Indonesia HELP. Hopefully someone would hear by now.

The number of Indonesian dead (currently at 94.000) certainly is concentrated in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, but the number of displaced and homeless and hungry and injured and still living is most definitely not insignificant in other areas. Half the population of Simeulue island have no home left. That's 7.500 households. In Nias the number is 4.500.

I should be glad that any aid has arrived at all, I guess.

But I won't complain anymore. The quake/tsunami so far is a candidate for the worst natural disaster in modern history, and there's an overwhelming amount of tasks to be done. Relief has come very fast. In fact too fast; too fast for proper authorities to manage and distribute efficiently in a coordinated matter. Too fast for pausing to think before acting. Like the hasty mass-graves threatening local underground water sources. Like Medecins Sans Frontiers request for pausing monetary aid to itself. And the mind-numbing number just keeps going and going...

Official death counts have passed 150.000 already. Unofficial death estimates total over 500.000. The number of homeless have yet to be confirmed, but in India alone estimates are at 1.500.000. That's one and a half million people without homes.

There's only so much anyone can do. There's only so much I can do (very few, in fact). We can't recover from this disaster. Not if we as a whole humanity refuse to work in coordination. I hope the Emergency Tsunami Summit [bbc.co.uk] to be held tomorrow in Jakarta would provide that coordination. At the very least it would be excellent PR for all parties involved. (heh).

Speaking of coordination (although I've yet to search for sources you can check-up on), the Indonesian relief effort has gotten lots of money but are short on volunteers. While a number of illegal TKIs (Tenaga Kerja Indonesia, Indonesian migrant workers) have been recently deported back to Indonesia with no job and no money. There was a suggestion during my family's annual New Year's eve gathering to combine the two together: hire the TKIs using relief money to help clean up Aceh. And North Sumatra too, of course:)

Posted at 11:25:42 am by ferdikom98
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learning at gunpoint

The Essence of the Tougher Standards Movement:

from Rescuing Our Schools from "Tougher Standards" at alfiekohn.org. Got the address from Studies Find Reward Often No Motivator at GNU Philosophy.

Speaking about learning at gunpoint, blogging in Indonesia can be considered as such if we take into mind that we pay for internet access by the second here (quite expensively I might add). There's weblogs: a history and perspective and waging peace: using our powers for good from Rebecca's Pocket.

Rebecca Blood is the author of The Weblog Handbook.

Oh and did I mention We the Media?

And before I forget (again), Happy New Year's Everyone! :)

Post-script Clarification: Just to be clear, Rebecca Blood did not write 'We the Media,' Dan Gillmor did. Forgive my tussled mind:0)

Posted at 8:33:05 pm by ferdikom98
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you Don't pres the system ! (o lets)

Back in around '98 or '99 when I was just a freshmen my senate faculty room was a lively place. There was a somewhat healthy mix of people of diverging ideologies (left, right, up, down, blue, yello', and green) just basically hanging. There was a PC with an ass-slow coax cable link to Computer Sciences (the faculty next door self-assigned to be the whole university's backbone) providing free Internet (don'cha jez loooove the beginning days of MP3:) ), an old FM radio, a little TV, and an old air conditioner.

The thing with the old AC is that if you turn it off, you can't turn it on again unless this guy with an 'intimate' relationship with the darling do some sort of voodo-type incomprehensible thing with it. Or some would say; I never actually had the good fortune to witness the ritual. And if you adjust the thermostat the wrong way it would just do this menacing shriek that just plain gives you nightmares.

So the esteemed members of the Senate deemed it necessary to place some sort of warning upon the AC's controlls to prevent innocent bystanders from accidentaly doing things which they would regret. Just enjoy the air, and if it becomes weird, get help. And they just happen to have a bunch of these old stickers from OPT '97, an initiation party about two years before. The writing on the sticker was, 'Don't let the system opress you!'

Nowadays things are somewhat depressing around the house, what with the TeVee constantly reporting about 'the thing' all the time, getting Mom all teary-eyed with all the pictures of all the dead, crying, sad, hysterical people lying around or getting swept away by lots and lots of water, especially little kids... well, you know. Like yeah. Major Bummer. You watch all those videos, and you don't even have to want to feel to just get this like 'you can't possibly not feel anything' feeling.

You can go to campus/office, do your thing, keep it away from the top of your mind,... but it just kinda stays in your head. You laugh and kid around but it always just stays in your head, a shadow that you just can't totally shake away, looming its grief upon you.

And so people ask, what's the meaning of all this?


What, you're asking me?



Like, we do what we can. We don't pretend that we're a big help. We don't pretend to be wise. And we remember that there's still lots of people living that we can actually help. Its actually pretty amazing what one can do nowadays with technology and a bit of faith.

So to any FISIPers reading this, I just thought to mention that Hajir is organising a cross-faith remembering session tonight at campus. To show sympathy as best we can, and to pray for all that still needs help. The gathering begins at around 6-7-ish in the evening, with a moment of silent prayer planned at midnight, new year's eve.

And to others reading this, it might also be usefull to know that aid to Naggroe Aceh Darussalam and Nias, in the form of instant noodles and bottled water, has bottlenecked at Tanjung Priok due to lack of delivery systems. So if you happen to know someone with a Hercules or ten handy, or some Cobra Bells...

And thus, after all that barely intelligible diatribe, in the great tradition of essayists from yesteryears, I end with a circular reference. Don't get depressed. Don't let the system opress you.

Posted at 11:20:01 am by ferdikom98
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the Wikipedia Tsunami phenomenon

2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake [wikipedia.org]

For those of you wondering where I've been the past five days, I'd just gotten a new addiction: Wikipedia.

I've added little tidbits, some in the wiki entries for 7-Zip, some in WinZip, some on the Wired CD, and some on Creative Commons.

But I guess the article I visit the most, and the article gaining the most attention nowadays, is the one on Monday's quake. Definitely a must read resource, with technical details, damage estimates, and links to donation web sites and pages. Some have even started an Indonesian version of the article, though te English version moves too fast for the Bahasa version to keep up. The English article has developed so large so quickly that they've (we've?) had to split the article into three; aside from the main page there's the donation page and the country damage and casualty list.

I guess the kicker is how great I felt to get involved. Just like Eben Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law on our need to innovate (read the section titled Because It's There: Faraday's Magnet and Human Creativity). "The feeling was exhilarating and addictive." Indeed.

Posted at 7:06:19 pm by ferdikom98
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its not just in Phuket and Lhoksemaue, you know...

USGS: Asian Quake 5th Largest Since 1900 [yahoo! news]

Most accounts on the Web focuses on the damages at Phuket, Thailand. Coverage of Indonesian damage as far as I can find mostly focuses on Lhoksemaue, Aceh (granted its closest to the epicenter). But according to relatives living at my parents' home island of Nias, a small island to the north of Nias called Sirombu disappeared.

Don't know if anyone died, but I overheard my Mom talking on the phone that even southern Teluk Dalam was affected. It might be deducable that the damage shouldn't be worse than in Lhoksemaue, but considering that only a single coaxial phone cable links phones from Nias's capital of Gunung Sitoli to Sibolga in nearby Northern Sumatera, and also that as far as I can remember Nias is the poorest second level territory (kabupaten tingkat II) in Indonesia, I'm not too sure if anything will be heard from Nias until someone actually goes there in person to find out...

I hope for the best nevertheless.

addendum: Oh, and to all that celebrates it, Merry Christmas:)

addendum 2: Okay, okay. It seems that originally most reporting actually looks at Srilanka. And that Sirombu is west of Nias. While Bahewa is south. So I haven't been to Nias in eight years. It was only a couple of hours after the event that I originally posted this blog. And I was rushing, okay :0)

It seems that international focus is starting to shift to Indonesia and Srilanka, but I must add that the quake effected several nations more or less equally including Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar and Malaysia. Total death toll so far is about 10.000, over 4.000 in Indonesia alone.

And I should be asleep. Its 3:25am and I'm having a Communications Ethics and Filosophy final test in about five hours. Talk about priorities, eh:)

addendum 3: For the avoidance of doubt (as can be confirmed by various media), the island of Sirombu has not disappeared, though the worldwide damage has mind-numbingly multiplied.

Posted at 8:37:58 pm by ferdikom98
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remembering Columbine

There is a certain something that I felt my audience should be able to at least infer by reading the texts in my blog; that I don't conform too well to my social surroundings and systems, that I feel my education system cheats me, that there should be more important things in life other than grades, degrees, and pieces of paper called 'diplomas.'

On a recent trip to Kuro5hin's culture section, I discovered a little piece about an alternative teaching method called Programmed Instructions. The main focus of the article is about an alternative to public schooling.

At the end of the article, it referenced a series of /. articles entitled "Voices from the Hellmouth" and an online book entitled "The Underground History of American Education". Both are only available as either online web sites or as a printed book buyable (obscurely) from Amazon. No PDFs or CC-licensed downloadable copies, unfortunately.

If any of these writings can convince anyone that my learning problems are real; if any of these writings can convince someone to put real effort into changing the system; if even just one person can be rescued from the illusion that it is him/herself that's at fault instead of the system....

All I ask is please, don't tell me I'm not trying hard enough without at least trying to understand me first. The social pressures to conform pushed two human beings, having been pushed beforehand into insanity, into killing thirteen and wounding hundreds. Not videogames. I feel for them all, victims and gunmen, though I'd never do something like it; I just don't have the guts.

I'd been gutted already.

Posted at 11:37:12 pm by ferdikom98
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there is no SpyGlass(inc).

Beautiful business move. Just beautiful

Ever clicked on MSIE's help\about menu? If so, then have you ever wondered who Spyglass, Inc. is? Then check out this Wikipedia article. Yes, there is a spyglass, and in fact it was set up by the governors of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to capitalise on the commercial success of the Web way back in the early '90s. It was subsuquently killed by Micro$oft. Very sweet.

You gotta admire Bill's business acumen. Damn. Very sweet. Remind me never to tackle Microsoft's businesss without an army of consultants.

I found it while reading up Wikipedia on the origins of the World Wide Web. And after doing so I must hurry and fix my statement I made in my TKA that Mosaic was Open Source when in fact it was not. Microsoft contacted Spyglass for licensing. And look at what happened to Spyglass. And Netscape. And Linux if We the Community are not careful enough.

Posted at 2:31:11 pm by ferdikom98
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A point I've always tried to make to myself is that I am part of a community of human beings which survive by relying on each other. By helping each other. I've had the above word thrown at me several times, and I sincerely would love to actually be able to believe it.

Its not important wether I do or not. What is more important is that my thoughts are going to waste.

The world is such a neo-capitalistic lard-soup-paste that indigeneous Dayaks in the middle of Borneo are hurt everyday by this over-Borg-ian need of Machinima-Economica to rule so completely all the way to our very breath-processes. You either become a screw of Capitalism™, or you get screwed.

I'm screwed™.

I don't have marketable skills. I don't have a college degree. I don't have a million Dollar$. I can't follow a system through. All because my mind (and therefore essentially I) love to wonder.

But I can't give up. At least not until the 20th.


Posted at 12:10:25 pm by ferdikom98
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Next Page

I don't write intellectually. I write expressively. I don't claim to be accurate, fair or thorough. I don't wanna get stuck on certain topics. Though I sometimes do. But not that often. I'd like to expand. I wanna write more poems. But I'll only upload them if they're good. I only rant about my life's hardships if it will rescue just a little bit of my sanity. I'm saner than I make myself out to be, though.

If I am an OS kernel, and I just had a kernel dump, I'd imagine that the text in this blog is what it would more or less look like.

There. Do you get it?


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