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April 24, 2006

Dahab bombing

Filed under: Egypt,Travels — stephane @ 11:47 pm

Al Capone restaurantApparently there was a bombing in Dahab a few hours ago around 7:15PM. Reports are pretty vague as of now. It has been reported that the “beduin” restaurant Al Capone was destroyed which means that at least the heart of the ‘tourist’ place has been hit and 7PM is normally one the busiest time. You can see the restaurant as well as the area in the entry I posted on December 18, 2005.

I’m waiting for some more info from people I have been hanging out with from mid-december to end of february.

Update: I received an email from Fred who is in Dahab right now (I have been doing rock climbing and freediving with him at Desert Divers) giving me news about the situation:

[…]There were 3 explosions last night at 7pm, designed to catch people escaping from one to another. The first was at Capone restaurant next to the bridge, then about 20 seconds later, outside the chinese restaurant on the other side, then about 10 seconds later, outside the Ghazala supermarket at the bottom of the little shopping street.

Very nasty and surreal situation. I don’t think the western media will be able to portray what really happened as it was very shocking.[…]

Why Apple, Google or Microsoft were not created in France ?

Filed under: Software — stephane @ 11:02 pm

There was an interesting article untitled “Pourquoi Apple, Google ou Microsoft ne sont pas nés en France ?” – Why Apple, Google or Microsoft were not created in France ? – in the La Tribune newspaper, a French newspaper specialized in Economy and Finance. The selection of companies in the title might be a little bit over the top and it probably would have more appropriate to mention names such as eBay, Skype, Red Hat, JBoss, MySQL, …

Philippe Hayat, CEO himself and professor at ESSEC, one of the top French business school, sums up that France cumulates 2 majors handicaps: “France is not able to transform a technological innovation into a profitable business, nor develop small businesses (PME)”.

Hardly breaking news for anyone actually having experience with the French way of doing “business“, but still.

Some other key areas for developing companies that have been mentioned in the article:

  • Soften labor laws (more flexible employment contracts)
  • Retain talents and wealth in France (Reform the ISF – wealth tax for people having wealth greater than 732 000€)
  • Rehabilitate the no pain, no gain culture (Do not force small businesses into the 35h law)

I doubt Marc Fleury, despite having graduated from Ecole Polytechnique (which is basically enough in France to set someone’s career as a top manager for the rest of his life without moving a finger) would have been able to create and develop JBoss Inc. in France as he did in the US. That would be interesting to hear his opinion.

A typical French organization on the other hand is ObjectWeb.

Indeed, despite initial innovation (ASM, JOnAS, JOTM, C-JDBC, …), it does not seem able to take off and get to the next step (adding more projects and members does not solve that but create the illusion). The Red Hat deal in 2003 did not boost at all the JOnAS community and visibility of ObjectWeb and they were evicted in profit of JBoss AS 2 weeks ago.

Some may argue that ObjectWeb lacks PR resources, but considering the prestigious and wealthy companies such as Bull, EDF, France Télécom, Thalès, etc.. that are part of the consortium, this argument does not hold water. So there is something else..or lack of.

As François Letellier mentioned in his ObjectWebCon 06 session (PDF), there is a paradox where members would like ObjectWeb to have more visibility, yet few of them communicate about it. On the business side, members expect actually assistance or more opportunities, yet they keep ObjectWeb out of the loop for any business opportunity confirming a somewhat narcissic attitude and lack of trust. This is clearly what needs to be solved first before adding new members and serve as a dumping ground for midly successful products and alliances. A spirit where pride, teamwork and realization are the core foundation of the community.

Good luck to create such an atmosphere as it’s not easy afterwards.

NB: I’m speaking for myself (and incidently a few others as I know a fair number of people who think alike)

April 21, 2006

Philips patents Advertisement Enforcing

Filed under: General — stephane @ 7:05 pm

Philips has filed a patent application to stop people from changing channels during commercials or fast forward commercials for pre-recorded video. It works through the use of a control signal in the video stream.

The patent Apparatus and method for preventing switching from a channel during an advertisement display abstract is defined as:

An apparatus (270) and method is disclosed for preventing a viewer from switching from a channel when an advertisement is being displayed on the channel. The apparatus (270) and method comprises an advertisement controller (270) in a video playback device (150) that (1) prevents a viewer of a direct (non-recorded) broadcast from switching channels when an advertisement is displayed, and (2) prevents a viewer of a recorded program from fast forwarding the recorded program in order to skip past advertisements that were recorded with the program. A viewer may either watch the advertisements or pay a fee in order to be able to change channels or fast forward when the advertisements are being displayed

The patent text mentions that viewers may potentially question the working state of their device and blame the manufacturer:

For a program broadcaster to be able to force viewers to watch advertisements may be greatly resented by the viewers. The manufacturer of a video display device (such as a set top box) has no way to ensure that a program broadcaster will notify the viewers and explain why the viewers are no longer able to switch channels during advertisements. When the remote control keys of the video playback device cease to change channels during advertisements there is a very strong likelihood that the viewers will blame the video display device (and the manufacturer of the video display device) instead of the program broadcaster

All this gives me a tremendous idea for a patent related to audio streams.

Indeed, radio broadcasters have the exact same problems. So my autoradio patent would simply avoid people switching channels when driving and would prevent turning the engine off while an advertisement is streamed.

Brilliant. :)

April 19, 2006

ApacheCon EU 2006 Sessions

Filed under: OpenSource,Software — stephane @ 5:49 pm

Congratulations to Emmanuel who got his session on Apache Directory Server apparently accepted for ApacheCon EU to be held in Dublin June 26-30:

Learn the advantages of ADS compared to other OSS LDAP servers.

Coded in JAVA, ADS is a standalone server that can also be embedded into other
products such as Geronimo. All of this makes ADS a flexible and powerful server
with high-level features and great performance.

The first part of the presentation will provide you with an overview of the
advantages of using ADS over other OSS LDAP servers. The second part will focus
on comparing the performance level of the three products.

Congratulation also to Steve and Julio for their Beyond Unit Testing

Overall, the program looks great.

I like detailed case studies like the one from HEAnet: Scaling httpd 2.x to 50,000 concurrent downloads which was also in ApacheCon EU 2005, and I hope that e-Bay case study and Serving the BBC News Website will provide as much useful information.

Servlet Specifications and Implementations

Filed under: OpenSource,Software — stephane @ 2:43 am

I read with interest the entry from Cheng Fang about a couple of servlet implementation differences on Glassfish, Tomcat 5, Weblogic 9, Websphere 6 and JBoss 4.0.4 (which should be Tomcat 5.5.16). Despite the fact it would have been better to write the exact version tested of each product, it reminded me of a related entry (getPathInfo/getServletPath) from Sylvain Wallez and a test I did on getRealPath when I was using Turbine (nearly 4 years ago !).

This should also underline how challenging it is to write a web framework that works consistently across a wide range of containers.

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