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Archive for September, 2007

Finger Food (11)

September 28, 2007 2 comments

Some days it may happens you wake up with a weird mood, it could be the end result of a bad dream you rarely remember, it could be the first chilly night after summer, it could be anything but, regardless, you feel edgy and most welcome the silence.

The opening of today’s Web newspaper (I do not do TV in the morning, too sad and boring, quite often..) is focused on the events in Myanmar, which I rather call Burma as an homage to its history and heritage (I may be wrong, but alas..). I certainly know that that is not the sole area in the World where repression and regime win over mankind or perhaps that is the common perception, and yet there is always a sparkle somewhere in human beings that allow you to nurture some hope in the future.

The global community has asked itself around the World to wear a red t-shirt to virtually close the gap with all the Buddhist monks that are quietly fighting the Burmese regime and asking for any human being’s right: freedom. An sms has circulated around the world, this is the text:

In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear red shirt on Friday 28. Please forward!

Forward it.

A house, water, food, dignity and freedom are fundamental pillars for mankind to be named as such, and the World is largely below par on those… is this redundant writing? Is this rhetoric, heard already, simplistic? I do not care, I have got a red t-shirt. After all, we always praise the importance of virtual, eSomething, feeling close to the Burmese people thanks to a piece of fabric is not too weird, then..

Below are the weekly Finger Food, the tone and topics are in some cases a few days old, thus may actually clash and shriek against the above, yet this is another “nevermind”…

  • You thought all your browsing those pointless, silly websites, including the unspeakable of ones.. would lead to nowhere??? Wrong, at the very least you may walk around your personal garden made out of your browsing… silly?? Nop, have a look here!!!
  • Everybody goes social!!!! We had time to discuss about cyber identity, some of your comments were spot on the issue, and there we are again, more social networks!!! You know what??? How long since a cyber-sociopath disease will actually be formalised???
  • Restrictions are never ever a good idea to foster, and despite the image of the V-Father, Virgin Digital (the digi-music shop..) is shutting down for good, as it seems… beware of DRM!!!! In the meanwhile, the Mule gets whacked..pointlessly, I dare say…
  • Let’s get started with changing the course of things… the Sun is an unexploited source of energy, someone calculated that it would be needed just 1% of the desert surfaces covered in high tech mirrors to give the Planet a more than decent injection of energy… and since in Australia there is plenty of sunshine, here we are! Kudos!!! The more, the better..
  • There we are, in fact!! Honestly, I didn’t make beyond the first page, and still it is fascinating, we may get some energy back from X-Algae, mutant seaweed or something.. as we said, any little helps…
  • So, Dell goes green… or, at least, it is starting to.. the most interesting aspect of it all is the “network” approach the company seems to take when considering CO2 emission and relative reduction: Dell suppliers and such are “forced” to abide a set of “green” requirements the PC behemoth has set. A tiny step forward..
  • A little while ago we went on discussing about identity issues whilst moving around the Web or virtual worlds… here is another little piece to add to the collection of “how to”. OAuth is out for trials and open discussion, have a go!!!
  • I have always been fanatic about cultural cross-fertilisation, and most aware of the power of serendipity.. thus it comes of no surprise to hear that a Microsoft team got a crush on an algorithm to detect HIV virus activity and, eventually, target a counterattack.. incidentally, the idea came from a work done on spamming protection tools… There is a little note drowned into the article, stating that the amount spent on this research is no more than a “rounding error” in planning budgets, think about what you can do with mistakes like that..

Plus O’Reilly Web2Open @ Berlin (everything seems happening in Berlin, these days, from our – IDC – ICT Forum to the Metaverse Summit in December, plus other..), and Halo 3 is conquering the gaming space, Dubai is becoming the money hub in the Middle East thanks to NASDAQ and OMX merry-go-round, whilst EU has decided to have virtual-VAT in SecondLife (but to be paid in full, real money…)… innovation?!??!? Please…

For you all, do enjoy the essay on “fame” that Stephen Fry has just put on his blog, and for those of you leaving in UK, could you please digital-record for me the new Jennifer Saunders comedy ” The Life and Times of Vivienne Vayle”?? If that is anything as funny as AbFab, I need it!!!

Have a nice weekend, I will pop over to Tuscany to hear my brother’s stories about “freaking-two-weeks-in-Tenerife” and my mom moaning over her “far-too-packed-with-candles” birthday cake!!!

Remember, red t-shirt…

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Categories: Finger Food

Italian eGovernment.. that’s virtualisation of Nothing!!!!

September 26, 2007 Leave a comment

During the past few weeks….during the past few months… ok, fine, during the past few years Italy has been struggling in building up a decent Government infrastructure.. we’ve had it all, thieves, convicted ministries, leaders acting like stand-up comedians at international meetings, singing prime ministers, the whole lot of absurdities.. This was coupled by an appalling public finance management, the disappearance of billions of Euros into someone’s pocket and so forth.. it is impossible to follow it, let alone report it in a post so follow my advice, should you have a burning desire to know this circus and if you are really fitted with strong guts, and go for books such as “La Casta”….

However, in this sort of third world (please, no offense to the third world countries, utmost respect!) mess, Italian rulers have been so barefaced as to foster eGovernment initiatives.. needless to say you should have a Government as such before even remotely trying to apply any sort of virtualisation to it, but nevermind..

Another Italian miracle was accomplished swiftly, since the latest Cap Gemini report states Italy is at around mid-ranking in the eGov evaluation score, and is above par (82% vs. an average of 75%) in overall quality of the services available. (Note: this is not a miracle at all, but, hey, that’s all we have got on the menu these days…)

That is something the entire nation was actually waiting to know (as if…), now it seems Italians would also like to understand whether this immense wealth of technology and cyber-functionalities are able to find something like 98 billion Euros missing (vanished, evaporated really..) from the taxation of gaming machines (aka video pokers and so forth…) across the country… that is a nice amount of money, considering that the latest “Legge Finanziaria” (the sort of yearly set of financial and fiscal measures and activities…) wasn’t remotely close to half of that amount and it made the entire nation shivers in terror for starvation and missing holidays….. the 2008 “Finanziaria” is about 12 billion, as it has been reported, that makes 1/8 (rounded..) of the due amount… you find the money, Italy would happil y trail around for, say, the next five years??? An entire legislature??? wow…

We were such a grand country…damn..

The role of IT…an alchemic question… (2)

September 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Incidentally, this was a nice survey I found on BusinessWeek.. keep on going, CIO, keep on going…

Categories: General stuff..

Mashup….wazzuuuuuupppp??????

September 25, 2007 Leave a comment

We all know that some of the features that people keep on tagging as “Web 2.0” are about content creation, elaboration and management, as to obtain an auto-generated content stream to “widecast” … this is quite nicely combined with the possibility to have two or more set of contents (web sites, information, data, whatever…) interacting to create a brand new entity, an hybrid, an end-results of a careful dosing of ingredients.. aka a “mashup”!!!

Now, that has probably been a kingdom few fairly skilled individuals could fathom and approach, and then mash, mix, combine were all words for the initiated ones ..  but today, this all come down to a dead-easy level, as it seems with this Intel (wow!!) MashMaker!!

Vivienne Westwood has said just yesterday, at the celebration party held in Milan for her 35th anniversary in the fashion industry, that

this is a terrible World, in which anybody thinks anymore: everybody’s watching TV, nobody’s reading or looking for arts, and yet people constantly want to express themselves, but have got nothing inside and nothing interesting to say, they are boring…

This may actually be slightly harsh, but considering Ms Westwood is the least she could have said about the current intellectual bankrupt we are witnessing, still it is nice to sit and wait about the results coming from combination, cross-fertilisation and fusion of different experiences… after all a meticcio is actually stronger than the separate parts…

However, and despite the above, one word of advice (not that I am anybody to take this honour..): as all top DJs could tell you, two good songs do not get mixed nicely together into something worth earing all that easily, superior skills (intelligence) are needed to arbitrate amongst parts to reach a better One.. and skills (…) are in short supply..

The role of IT… an alchemic question..

September 25, 2007 Leave a comment

I am back from the Forum IT held in San Gimignano, right in the middle of Tuscany (home, for a change!!!) and in a wonderful location.. why this sort of “touristic incipit”?? One reason, mainly, a small tiny winy detail: that quiet and lush environment stirred the most stunning flow of conversation, quite a lot of business considerations and an amazing array of personal chats and, quite a rare occurrence these days, of the utmost intelligence and elegance.. I must say a soothing experience and quite refreshing indeed..

The business issues were all related to the current role of Information Technology and its company champion, the CIO, in the present evolutionary scenario.. the debate went on a couple of divergent directions: a sort of initial mainstream idea was pointing out to the IT being a mandatory and, as of today, commodity function within the organisation, the other standpoint, later on in the day, headed towards the strategic role of IT as enabler of a new sort of sentient organisation, therefore forcing the CIO role to a connection, a hub of utmost technology competence coupled with (at least) a thorough business understanding..

That may sounds like “so what..” kind of a stuff, however I have been posed since 1995 with two  questions: the importance of the SMEs market in Italy and how to rise the IT to strategic level within any company’s board… I believe today there are plenty of research and data that pinpoint the alive-and-kicking dichotomy between technology and business, the role of the CIO as a guardian of an almost forgotten druidic knowledge of IT and as the paramount driving force of a new business capability… as per the importance of SMEs in Italy, that is still lingering about..

Around 60% of companies has stated, in a fairly recent survey I happened to read (details upon request…), that the utmost company priority is about cost reduction, and immediately after that 25% quoted “development of new product/services” as a top priority, whilst the main trouble areas for an IT management are about keeping the internal IT skill set alive (39%)  and how to integrate heterogeneous systems into a coherent technology fabric (34%), it is no wander that CIOs complaint about the scarcity of resources to develop new initiatives… and yet, the discussion is always about the strategic role of IT as if all business functions and evolutionary capability would not set their roots into a rather firm IT ground. Most of the IT crowd I generally meet points out that the more pressing need today is about finding the right language pack to discuss with business folks.

As pointed out with some friends at the Forum, the business declinations of information technology today are the pillars of Hercules between success and failure, IT is the detonator for superior strategic acumen…

Ops, there we are again, it is all down to brains and management ability, I guess…. quite an hard call sometimes..

Finger Food (10)

September 20, 2007 Leave a comment

I know it is not Friday… I will be travelling to a “Forum IT” with some journalists and a few top execs from the IT industry for a weekend of brainstorming around the role of Information Technology and its moguls in the present (and foreseeable) economic evolution. Nice one!

So, I have been gathering some nice bits around to keep you going for the next few days..

  • First come first, so energy is again on top position.. also, it is interesting to notice that our shared thoughts about the overindulgent approach to the importance of innovation and ideas may generate monsters of silliness such as this weird plans on how to save the planet from darkness of a post-oil economy…. however, together with Web 2.0, energy is hot on the list, here, and also here. We should have started this battage much earlier.
  • It would then be a nice thing to do to us (taking care of the energy, the planet and us, all included..), before this goes a bit too far… on top of disintegrating our ecosystem, the mankind (politicians, businesses… ) approach to pollution and global warming is depriving us of adventure, exploration, food for those of us still believing Man is a word to be proud of…
  • Few days ago I pointed out how mobile comms were driving India to the stardom and out (for at least part of its population) of starvation, now it seems the same can be done in Africa. I would like to have the opinion of a dear friend of mine who works in the area … at least, it is nice to read and soothing to know that some can be done .. ah, quite obviously it is of the utmost importance that new masses are up and well to become a mass of new buyers (at some point in time…), since all the other buyers across the World have been kind of squeezed to buy also when there was no money for it (subprime anyone???) but this is maybe beyond the point, isn’t it???? Much better to believe we are sooooo nice and concern about others…… (Note: read down the comments section.. Thanks Jamil..)
  • And, since privacy is an issue, the most advanced amongst us are Tor users.. what is Tor?? This will explain a bit, and as it seems it is not a nice position to be a Tor-server administrator.. now, I am wandering, would that responsibility and related court calls apply also to free WiFi access, Fon and friends (go on, I know some of you will have some literature about this..)???!?!? Gosh, you cannot do a favor and immediately someone is at you… damn…
  • To complicate matters, femtocells are a real offering … what are femtocells??? Browse here, Dean is an old colleague of mine and truly knows about it…I believe, however, it will be a nice add to already complicated tariffing schemes and non-usage of advanced tech (HSDPA??) by the “everyday man”… still, nice to know that, maybe one day, I will be able to make or receive a call in Milan underground, albeit it will be a matter of reprogramming people politeness level (pretty low now, to say the least…)
  • This is fantastic!!! Is SecondLife generally hosting reproductions of real cities??? Fine, a real city hosts a reproduction of Second Life!!!! There is really no end to it… so get it all sorted out here, at Dr.Dobb’s Life 2.0.. the funniest of it all is the breakfast.. I usually starve in the morning, my real stomach asks for real food… will be there later, then, anybody minds???? And, about real cities, walls and the lot, here it is, an Italian construction company hosts your house, the exact reproduction of the house you are going to buy, in SL… avatars can go and check, modify, control, experience.. this is kind of nice, isn’t it??? Maybe done already somewhere else, but seems to me a good way of using virtual reality to its best. Thanks to Punto Informatico for “digging” the news..
  • btw, SecondLife is hosting an eBay based auction system… mind you, just for land… are we going to have sub-prime loans any time soon??? Joking, that will be fun to watch… OK, OK, there are also some nice serious bits happening in SL, and particularly information (oxygen for free spirits) gets a nice reward … kudos to Reuters… thanks Nobody Fugazi!

There we are… ah, yes, this has been the week Microsoft got a fine from EU for being naughty-naughty (and everyone’s concerned about the aftermath of it… or cheering up, indeed), the iPhone is finally making its inroad in Europe, despite having (at the time I wrote this comment..) no 3G capability but compensating instead with a huuuuge ego from Cupertino (O2 strangled in the deal..), together with across-the-continent pricing issues already , Digg changes some bits and it’s digging deeper into users’ experience….

I will report about, and possibily from, the event but, in the meanwhile, I leave you with this… I truly believe Stephen Fry is one class on his own, chapeau and enjoy the reading!

Catch you later!!

UPDATE: since Web 2.0 and all the talking these days point to “collaboration”, “world conscience”, “community”, have a thought at this… grid computing at mankind’s service, known already?? Cool .. for once, I would like to believe it is pure and true..

Categories: Finger Food

Broaden your horizon..

September 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Every now and then I like to share with you some feelings, ideas, simple thoughts about anything that sort of moves me somewhat.

As most of you, I like the idea of being part of a larger World than my immediate surroundings, I love the fact that lots of my friends are scattered allover the World and yet we keep in touch, we share bits of our lives and, ultimately, we grow together. Since I began travelling, I couldn’t stop longing for being on the move, by plane, car, boat, bike, feet, all but staying still.

Which, unfortunately, is something I have to do most of my time, workwise now, and because of a much greener age, some times ago. Damn.

To overcome the issue, and then long before working age, I started reading. Anything, really. I travelled first class to Asia with Salgari, and from that onward I went allover the place. Then I got into knowing things, and then again I read about anything I was remotely supposing could have been of any interest.

Today, Internet is grand!

Again, I do not say something new to anyone of you, you do exactly the same thing, possibly to a much higher extent, still I read every single day ePapers, news and sites from any place on Earth, I browse, explore, listen, watch, write, collate. I try and extend myself beyond physical boundaries, cultural traps and everyday’s boredom.

Today, the New York Times has opened up its wealth of knowledge and thinking to anyone interested. You may be readers already, or you did, so this is sort of pathetic, but to me that is another open door over something.. cannot wait to explore…

Then, I may find a good tip on where to head for my next trip (December holidays are coming soon…better book it..), and then there we are, reality and eReality come together nicely!!!!

A broader horizon is always a great gift.

Categories: For thoughts.., Myself