Publicidade no Kindle será o futuro dos livros electrónicos?

A amazon anunciou que vai começar a vender um eBook reader kindle mais barato no qual vão colocar publicidade para compensar o custo reduzido.

No entanto ao ver o valor do “desconto” verifica-se que é de apenas 25 dólares, e portanto serve apenas para enganar um pouco a carteira na hora da compra, ficando o custo extra para mais tarde na forma de publicidade.

Se ao menos o sistema deixasse de mostrar publicidade assim que o utilizador visse os $25 de anúncios?…

A verdade é que este kindle serve apenas para a Amazon testar novas formas de vender livros no canal livro electrónico.

Se o público aceitar a publicidade, que diz a Amazon será apenas no screen saver do kindle e no menu principal, então será fácil perceber que num upgrade de firmware futuro será dada (ou não) a opção a todos os utilizadores para verem publicidade.

Isto é uma medida que visa aumentar as receitas da Amazon e não baixar o custo final ao utilizador, por mais que a Amazon tente vender a ideia contrária.

O futuro dos livros electrónicos não passa, a meu ver, por publicidade, mas antes por novos formatos, mais próximos do papel e que não obriguem a conversões de PDFs ou HTML para eBooks.

Passa também por novas tecnologias no campo da E-Ink e muito possivelmente na introdução de cor e taxas de refrescamento mais elevadas (há até quem esteja entusiasmado em lá meter vídeo, imagine-se!).

O Kindle continua no entanto a ser um brilhante leitor de livros electrónicos.

Tive a oportunidade de comparar um Kindle directamente com o meu BeBook de há 3 anos e a tecnologia e-ink está muito melhor, o contraste e a legibilidade são fantásticas.

Para além disso o preço do kindle é agora suficientemente apelativo (mesmo a versão com Whispernet) para considerar a substituição do Bebook.

No entanto nunca me passaria pela cabeça substituir por uma versão com anúncios.

Nokia are you the new Palm?…

Palm was once a company that had great PDAs… They ran something called Garnet OS and they ruled. Then they started selling Palm devices (PDAs and Phones) with Windows Software. Then… they failed for some years and they didn’t innovate until they decided to make a new OS based on linux. But as they were so late… they basically had to scrape the company and be sold to HP (another company that once had a PDA/Phone division and was trying to recover some market share). A couple years forward and now HP announced the new Palms (Ups…) No Palm to be seen anywhere. Palm RIP. The devices (that use an evolution of that linux based OS) are now branded HP.

Now, Nokia.

Nokia was once a company that had great phones… and now some guys from microsoft run the company, and the company is announcing windows mobile phones… hm… [you can fill the rest]…

Installing Libfreenect from Homebrew without the fuss

I managed to get my hands on a Kinect and I’m now playing with it. While in Ubuntu a simple 3 line command sequence allowed me to play with OpenKinect without problems,

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:arne-alamut/freenect
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install freenect

in the Mac (10.5.8), things got rough. The problem? Well, the problem was compiling cmake… It failed constantly.

The solution for those that couldn’t install openkinect in Leopard (might work also for other versions)?

Download cmake directly from their website

Install Homebrew (it’s better than Macports and Fink)

Download the Formulas

cd /usr/local/Library/Formula
curl --insecure -O \
curl --insecure -O \

And now it is a bit different from what the tutorial says. Instead of running the brew install command use brew edit

$ brew edit libfreenect

This will open your favorite editor and then comment the line that has the cmake dependency (add # at the beginning of the line)

#  depends_on 'cmake'

Now save and install with

$ brew install libfreenect

This was the way I solved it… may not work for all of you trying to use the Microsoft Kinect with OpenKinect, but at least might help some to bypass the problems.

2 Things worrying me right now!

  1. Companies doing traffic shaping in HTTP only access. This is happening in France according to the owners of megaupload. Every day we’re witnessing gross sale companies trying to enter the commodity market. This is wrong and brings to an idea that I heard somewhere. If big infrastructure companies are trying to get out of the gross market, maybe there’s an opportunity for local communities to own infrastructure. Real physical infrastructure and then charge big companies for their pass rights through these infrastructures. Maybe there’s something here that I don’t know, but what we’re seeing now is that on the pretext of profit we’re loosing neutrality and independence.
  2. Amazon dictating the prices of their Android App Store? This is another proof that App store are the stupidest thing and that in the end they will hurt developers more that they will make them rich. Programmers / developers role and importance in the software production chain is now being relegated to second places and if they can’t even define the price of their own work, they’ll be doomed in the long run. And as this works in feedback loops, this will bite the App stores back, but until then… guess who’s making NO money?

Producer-Consumer: Google’s File System

Appending data and reading it efficiently is the key to achieving good performance. Many clients may append data to a single file concurrently and its important to achieve this at low synchronization cost. Google employs producer-consumer algorithm to design such system .via Web Space: A simplistic view of Google’s File System.

This semester I am teaching Concurrent and Parallel programing at ISCTE-IUL. One of the challenges I have is to get real application examples that don’t look “fake” or being invented just for the purpose of that class. Students need to understand the importance of those concepts as they are then applied in solving real life problems. One of such problems is the producer-consumer coordination problem that google has to solve in order to implement its file system. There’s also a paper dedicated to the Google File System by Sanjay Ghemawat, Howard Gobioff, and Shun-Tak Leung

Are We Ready for The Next Net?

The moment the “net neutrality” debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost.via Shareable: The Next Net.

And from FOSS to the Internet itself. Is it time to invent the new internet? An internet that is really decentralized? As more and more commercial and political interests take their share of the internet, more persons will need their own private decentralized network. Building an infrastructure from scratch might be impossible, and probably using some sort of P2P encrypted layer on top of the existing infrastructure can be a way to achieve this free for all internet again.

Watermark in LaTeX / pdftex in 4 lines

To watermark a document in a LaTeX document using pdftex add the following lines to your LaTeX document preamble:

\SetWatermarkLightness{ 0.9 }
\SetWatermarkScale{ 3 }

First we invoque the LaTeX package draftwatermark. Then, as a watermark is something that appears transparent when viewed, the code defines the lightness of the watermark. Next, the text of the watermark is defined — in the example above I’m using the date. You can choose CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET or any watermark text you might need for your projects. And finally, the scale of the watermark on the document is set. Play with this value to test the coverage of the watermark in the document.

This is a basic example for watermarking a document. If you need more options the draftwatermark package has many and you should read the documentation for all watermarking options and features.