Friday, May 21, 2010


PS3mediaserver is a Upnp server compatible with various players (ps3, xbox 360...) that runs on Linux (it is implemented in Java) and can transcode on the fly (mencoder needs to be installed for transcoding). I can finally watch matroska videos on my XBox.
The last beta version  (1.20.409) correct an A/V synchronisation issue that the current stable version (1.10.5) has.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lettre aux 3Suisses

Un jour que je devais m'ennuyer mortellement, je décidai d'écrire une lettre aux 3Suisses en réponse à l'un de leurs courriers commerciaux. Leur lettre y allait de ce genre d'offres promotionnelles soit disant personnalisées :

Voici la réponse que je leur ai adressée :

Mais le plus drôle est qu'ils m'ont pris au sérieux et un commercial m'a appelé quelques jour plus tard pour essayer de comprendre ce que je pouvais bien leur demander.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Traffic aquisition

13 posts and still no traffic. It looks like as advanced as the Google algorithms are, they still cannot detect the true value of my content. Fine, I will then use the most effective traffic acquisition content: porn. That shouldn't be a big effort anyway, I love tits and asses.
So here's my first contribution to the big Internet porn soup. Scanned and reworked with Gimp for your pleasure, that's a picture you won't find anywhere else on the web.

perfect ass

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Motivational self help

I'm at a moment in my life where I'm looking for inspiration. I want to break the dependency to employers and start producing value for myself and not for somebody else. But for some reason, I cannot find any project or business idea that motivates myself enough.
This search for inspiration led me to self-help books. I first stumbled upon "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". In this book I found a reference to "Think and grow rich". This later book was fist published in 1937. It was inspired from Dale Carnegie who (according to Wikipedia) began the self-help movement in the 20th century with a book published just one year before. So we can consider "Think and grow rich" as one of the first modern self-help books. It's a motivational book to which many of the current self help books and blog ideas can be retraced. they all talk about perseverance as being the one condition that will ultimately lead to success. Sticking to one's dream and focusing all one's energy to its realization will prevent failure. All is about having faith in oneself and believing in the inevitability of success. To illustrate this idea, these books and blogs are usually littered with examples of men having changed the world with the strength of their conviction, such as Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, or having become millionaire after having turned whatever idea into a thriving business.
I'd like to break this myth with a simple argument. How many people having dedicated all their energy during all their life in the realization of their dream never succeeded ? How many of them had the most unwavering faith but didn't make it ? We don't know for the simple reason that these men don't tell their story. They don't become public figures. Nobody knows or talk about them. They silently disappear in the anonymity of their failure. We only know about the ones that succeed. So what is the ratio of failure against success ? Just a bit of common sense can tell us that it is very high. So let's just be careful about not being taken away by all this motivational self help trend. Being positive is fine. Being unconditionally obsessed is wrong.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On religion

I find it difficult to discuss about religion with a believer. The fact that the concept of god is based on faith and not on rationality makes it impossible to argue. Faith doesn't need logic or proof, you have it or not. It's a concept that sustains itself, that exists only because of its own meaning. Religion is nothing more than the oldest and most powerful meme.
Some time ago, a friend of mine which I previously knew as atheist told me she converted herself to christianity. I received that news as a shock. I tried to probe her about what triggered this sudden belief. She wasn't too eager to drill on the subject but basically told me she that had an illumination. Reflecting on that I realised I shouldn't have been so surprised, I already knew she believed in predicting the future by reading tarot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eurock climbing

Mon ami Pierre a entrepris un voyage de 8 mois pour grimper sur les plus beaux sites d'escalade d'Europe. Je l'ai suivit durant le 1er mois, sur le parcours Espagnol. Il retrace ses aventures sur son blog.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A review of "The Art of Happiness"

I'm half through the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler and I have a few opinions to express already.

These opinions have to be put in the context of my own lack of culture. That is the first time I'm reading anything from the Dalai Lama. I have no background regarding Buddhism whatsoever. I am a convinced atheist and a fierce religion opponent. Beside, this book includes only excerpts of the conversations between the Dalai Lama and H. C. Cutler, selected by and liven up with the latter's own interpretations, which probably helped a lot to screw the original Dalai Lama's message.

H.C. Cutler is just the perfect cliché of the western guy to whom the true meaning of life has been revealed. This is sometimes pathetic, like when he rambles about the making of his cotton shirt and how discovering that everybody is interlinked in a network of dependence make him want to cry. Yes, that's the complexity of the modern ways of production and commerce. That has nothing to do with intimacy or even self-reliance like he claims.

I understand this philosophy of reaching happiness by living a simple life filled with spirituality, so much in opposition to the current western culture that mixes pleasure and materialism with happiness. But sometimes the views of the Dalai Lama appear to me as simplistic at best, naive at worst.
I'm particularly entertained by reading about monk giving his opinions on love and passion. I don't think that a lifetime of watching and reflection can replace true-life experience. This is enough to read him say that an intimate and passionate love relationship 'can be seen as something positive'. The guy obviously never experienced it. This might be only a moment of bliss that leads later to suffering but who would let it pass by ? Anyway, the guy won't reproduce himself. He will reincarnate. That removes this hell of a problem of finding a mate.

This culture of taming emotions doesn't inspire me much. I think the mental states it leads to shouldn't be called happiness but rather blankness.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review of "Influence, the psychology of persuasion"

In his book, "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion", Cialdini exposes 6 principles of the human behavior and how ill-intentioned exploiters can turn them into "weapons of influence" to obtain our compliance. They are based on 6 automatic behavior patterns that are deeply rooted into our subconscious and triggered by a specific condition or action.
It's easy when reading the book to recognize most of these patterns. Their exploitation by the advertising industry has become so mainstream that most of us has already spotted them in some way. But the book shed some light as why they are still so powerful, even when somebody has gained awareness of them.
They are shortcuts that allow us to take quick decisions as how to behave without having to spend to much brain power, to choose or act without hours of conscious pondering and appraising. Cialdini argues that this subconscious process of decision making will become more and more important as the complexity of modern life increases and we are faced to an explosion of variables and choices.
What is really interesting is how Cialdini justifies the usefulness of each of these patterns for humans, as a specie.
Reciprocation for instance is the rule that makes us compelled to return a favor, even a spontaneous one. Anthropologists claim that this behavior gave humans an evolutionary advantage by removing inhibitions against transactions, that must begin by one person providing a resource to somebody else, thus allowing trading and resulting in the society as we know it.
Commitment and consistency is another rule that makes us act in a consistent way with whatever early decision we made, even if it clearly proves itself being a bad one later on. Consistency is again an adaptive behavior that works well in most of the cases by avoiding us to constantly reassess a situation that could possibly lead to immobility. It is a praised value associated with strong will and mental stability whereas the opposite trait is seen as undesirable.
The others rules are Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity. Cialdini explains them in great details in his book, how they work, why they are useful, how we can avoid them being exploited against us. The examples used in this book are a bit outdated but the theory remains as valid as ever.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reivindicación peatonal espontanea del espacio callejero

Estoy harto del coche en la ciudad. No quiero ni hablar de la contaminación o del ruido pero simplemente que a veces no hay bastante espacio para el peatón. Vivo en Barcelona y a veces no se puede andar de la estrechez que tienen las aceras. Hay atasco peatonal. Los que conocen al Triangulo el Sábado por la tarde saben de lo que hablo. Bien, si tu también estas harto de eso, te propongo de hacer una reivindicación peatonal espontanea del espacio callejero. El concepto es sencillo, cuándo hay un espacio que se crea en la calzada, los peatones bajan en masa y se apropian una via. Si hay un flujo constante de peatones, los coches deberán circular sobre las otras vías. Tal vez si se produce bastante a menudo el ayuntamiento dejara menos espacio al coche.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why I don't like Apple

My girlfriend and I sometimes debate on Apple. Actually, each time she complains about the slowness of her current computer and the question of buying a new one comes up. She wants to buy a Macbook because they are beautiful. I try to convince her to buy a PC and use Linux. I'm a fervent advocate of open source but my point is that a tool doesn't need to be beautiful but functional. Of course, Macbooks are functional. But the added beauty comes at a cost and doesn't improve the function, to which she disagrees. That reminds me of these students that think beautiful and expensive pencils and notebooks will better motivate them to work. Then the debate takes usually a more philosophical turn around the usefulness of beauty, and as such goes away from the real problem.
The real problem is that Apple succeeded in creating a real cult around its products that makes people pay for an added emotional value. And the cult of objects and the emotional link with them is just something that bothers an anti-consumerist like me. Particularly with objects that remains just tools and have such a short lifespan.
I like my laptop (an Asus) because it followed me in my professional travels and many of the places I lived. But I'm not saying this created some emotional link. I just like it because it was sturdy enough not to break. According to my girlfriend, this is a pretty ugly laptop.