Why not, Indonesia? A musing inspired by my typing on my Taiwanese netbook

Why did I get an Acer Aspire One netbook instead of an Elevo Butterfly or something?
Just simply because there were actual hands-on reviews of Aspire Ones and none of Elevo?
Why didn’t I check up Info Komputer or Chip?

Why do I not trust Indonesian quality?
And don’t give me that bullshit about Indonesia simply sucks. I don’t buy it.

Why don’t I own any League sneakers? I own a red pair of Specs though. And a leather Tomkins.
But my most common daily shoe is my Crocs Santa Cruz loafers.
I use my Specs when I ride my bicycle though… the St.Cruz loafers are kinda ruffly, and the soles too soft for hard riding.

All four of my bicycles are Indonesian branded though. (And Indonesian manufactured as far as I can tell…)

Discussions at our foundation would say that this is because we’re borrowing technology instead of developing our own. Therefore when seeking out the best technology seek out the original makers.

But the microprocessor was invented in Silicon Valley, while almost 90% of this netbook I’m typing on was manufactured in Taiwan.

Even this Windows XP operating system, if you really trace it, is the result of international collaboration. You cannot credibly state that it is 100% Redmond. Or Santa Barbara/San Fransisco/California etc.

Rootedness… rootedness… where a culture’s identity & strength lies…

I read an article recently which stated that Jakarta could be the next silicon valley. Yeah, well what about Delhi? Hyderabad? Or Moscow for that matter? Kuala Lumpur? Even the Finns aren’t giving up quite yet, despite Nokia’s down n’ out condition. (They’re in hunkering mode right now, as far as I’m concerned; trying to reinvent the Windows Phone 7 OS in their own image. They’re still fighting, believe you me.)

Indonesia is faltering because many people, including myself, currently doubt not only whether or not Indonesia could win, but even more incredulously (or even quite pathetically) whether Indonesia *should* win. Its sickening, this nationwide defeatist attitude.

….But is it really nationwide? Could it be its just us urban hipsters, victims or our own hype? Our own snark?

This musing is beginning to become counter-productive, so I’ll just stop here for now. Maybe I’ll continue at some other time when i can think of something concrete that I can at least imagine doing.

Did Microsoft just buy Skype to get people’s attention away from Google I/O?

nevermind.

Android OS, and revisiting Open Source vs. Free Software

(repost from Twitter and Buzz)

With the popularity of Android OS, and before it iOS and OS-X, it is time we realize (and become more aware of) the differences between Open Source & Free Software..

(small note: iOS and OS-X, both based upon the Apple Inc. initiated Darwin-OS project, is based largely on FreeBSD in its core, and uses a modified Mach kernel. Apple also contributes significantly upstream)

In the ‘perfect world’, all software would be ‘Free Software’ and there would be no need for the ‘Open Source’ pragmatic compromise…

(notice all the ‘scare quotes’ in the previous sentence..)

All the more reason to keep an eye on Nokia’s Maemo project, I say.

I can post to WordPress.com from TweetDeck…

I can post to WordPress.com from TweetDeck, but I’m limited to 140chars.. -_-”

E-LINUX.it: The Inevitability of Open Source Windows

E-LINUX.it: The Inevitability of Open Source Windows

The FOSS (Free/Open Source Software) Community knows, thanks to leaked Microsoft internal documents, that since about 1998 Microsoft has been in a sort of war against them. Because of this, it is not surprising that the FOSS community has looked at Microsoft with suspicion and has vilified it to no end. But, is Microsoft really evil?

The reality is that Microsoft is just a company. It is a company that was at the right place at the right time when the PC was created and this brought a lot of success. Of course, there was a lot of hard work and good talent involved. In some respects, Microsoft may have even been a positive force in the world, since it was instrumental in bringing down the price of computing at a time in which this was very expensive. However, with that success came a lot of power.

As we all know, power can be a good thing, when used wisely and benevolently, or can be a bad thing, when used shortsightedly an selfishly. Unfortunately, corporations are, by their very nature, selfish and shortsighted. I am not saying that all people inside of Microsoft are bad people. I am sure that, for the most part, most people at Microsoft are just your average, mostly honest, hardworking people. But, it is not in the best interest of “the company” to be generous and meek. So, management has sometimes seen fit to use their power in ways that benefit “the company” at the expense of every one else.

*emphases mine

The idea of open source windows has been talked about over and over again, but what hooked me to this article is the neutral tone towards microsoft which I have, to my recollection, never heard of before coming from the hardcore activist side. Not even the Open-source camp (let alone from Stallman’s side).

Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” (updated)

cross-posted from the mind-Dumpster

So like I’m a subscriber to a mailing list organised by the Creative Commons, named CC-Lessigletter, a mailing list which is usually active during their annual fund drives (the fund drive is a requirement from the United States’ IRS to show that the 501(c) Non-Profit organisation has “popular support”). And the fun thing about this mailing list is how it promotes the Creative Commons cause; not by making ‘sales pitches’ urging ‘participation’ for the ‘public good’ (particularly your ‘monetary participation). No, they definitely do not shill; in stead they tell war stories, positive stories highlighting what the Creative Commons have done.

And this month’s CC-Lessig Newsletter (written by Creative Commons activist Fred Benenson) informed me that Radiohead has released a new album, “In Rainbows,” and is making it available as a download where you name your own price. And yes, you can name your price “zero pence”. Which is what I did since I’m practically broke thus why I’m volunteering at JiFFest this year 2007 for practically pennies.

I’ve downloaded the album, its a 48-megabyte zip file containing 10 drm-free high-quality mp3s. Wikipedia says that the songs are pretty good; I don’t know since I don’t have speakers at my workstation here. And you know what, when JiFFest pays me I think I’ll just buy me a copy of their Limited Edition Box Set. We’ll see…

update 12/20/2007 : And guess what? Radiohead managed to bag over €6 million from their “pay what you want” digital downloads program; apparently about 40% of the downloaders actually paid, and the average among them was about €6 or something. The exact numbers are in dispute, but the undisputable point is that Radiohead made quite a bundle.

But of course obviously it only worked because they were Radiohead. They already have a dedicated worldwide fanbase nurtured for over 12 years, and they were just ending their label contract with EMI. A rather thorough analysis you can read by checking out Wired’s coverage, with David Byrne interviewing vocalist Thom Yorke and talking about the future of music etc.

Mr Byrne also made an IMHO excellent assesment of business options for the contemporary musician in the digital age.

[David Byrne was vocalist of classic 70's band Talking Heads, who made the song "Radio Head" from which the band got their name. Younger Windows XP users might recognize Mr Byrne's name from the bonus audio track included with most installs of Windows Media Player 9 entitled "Like Humans Do (Radio Edit)", from his solo album "Look Into the Eyeball". Its in the My Music\Sample Music folder, filename music.wma (Buy the Album from Napster! /:)].

Meanwhile, as compensation to Radiohead for my enjoying their excellent, excellent music, I think I’ll buy the plastic-classic Audio CD (due for release worldwide sometime this month) instead of the Box-set; its just too rich for my blood :p

hat tip: boingboing.net

Upon listening to “In Rainbows”, a comment that came out (that I tend to agree with) was that ‘In Rainbows’ is a road-trip album; you could feel yourself travelling cross-country with your best buddies in an old sedan while listening to it. Or you should listen to it while travelling cross-country with your best buddies in an old sedan. Groovy, perhaps, in a word.

I spent my last days at JiFFest 2007 downloading Velvet Revolver’s two albums, Smashing Pumpkins’ return album “Zeitgeist,” three albums from the Kahvi Collective winter releases, Bruce Springsteen’s “Magic,” and an old casette I lost a few years ago: Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation Of…”.

And also “OK Computer”.

Searched The Pirate Bay, downloaded torrents using GetRight nagware edition, bandwidth capped at 80 Kbps (so as to not annoy other local network users). Except for the Kahvi Collective ambient electronics, which I downloaded direct from their site (Legally, I should add).

For those Jakartans still in doubt on wether to go with Fast Net‘s unlimited broadband service or not let me assure you, I was a very happy Fast Net user as was all of my JiFFest co-workers.

(If anyone from Fast Net is listening please, please, pretty please roll out your network at Puri Kembangan Raya…)

a better explanation for my anti-Sony position

(warning: Not Safe for Work) I’m tired of Sony’s bullshit.So like recently I bought myself a Samsung C140 to replace the dying Nokia 5110 I had been using since I lost my Nokia 2300 (see my mind-Dumpster for more details).

There are a few brand-new Sony Erricson cellphones that are available cheaper in the Indonesian market, and they do tend to have the best price-performance balance at least feature-wise. So naturally quite a few friends have on occations asked me, “so why don’t you buy a Sony?”

I would usually begin my answer with, “Ideological reasons.,” and they’d ask just exactly what I meant with that and I’d blabber on-and-on with technojargon and people would just get lost.

Well this guy IMHO has a better wrap-up of what exactly is wrong with Sony: “Sony hates their customers.”

Its a shame though, how the company that invented the Walkman and the Betamax could become so high-winded and fearful of the open market; how they’re so obsessed with lock-in. One would think that bringing in a foreign CEO like Howard Stringer would cause enough cultural change that the company would at least stop fearing their customers and stop demanding that the customer bend to the will of mighty Sony. Well Dude, you’re not mighty anymore. D’uh.

‘Mighty’ Sony didn’t come this far, becoming a gigantic multinational company, by being this anathema with their customers, did they? I’d imagine Sony’s success in the past to come more from their innovations. Maybe they are dreaming that they can create these must-have electronic toys, and these toys would be so wonderful that no-one would mind if they put in these locks and cages so that once you went with Sony you’ll be stuck with them forever amen.

It doesn’t work that way anymore. It hasn’t worked that way for a long time. How can Sony not realize that vendor lock-in does not work anymore? If you want user loyalty, you gotta begin with building trust. I don’t trust you, Sony, and that’s why I’m not buying you.

Get me to trust you again. Open up. Then maybe, just maybe I’d just consider at least peeking your way again.

Originally posted at the mind-Dumpster

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