Archive for January, 2005

Netcafé interview subtitled, Creative Commons and Firefox

Netcafe InterviewThis is another thing I had to do since a long time of which I underestimated the importance, at least from a marketing point of view: I mean adding subtitles to the Netcafé TV interview. 🙂

Technically they’re captions, since I added them using Windows Media Encoder 9 tools. For the occasion I even re-encoded the videos at a higher quality.

I had the chance to show it to some friends on the Pocket PC, but the occasional visitor may easily miss it because he has to browse the site to find it and once found he can’t understand the language if it doesn’t know italian. That explains the work on the english subtitles and that hint to the visitor in a hurry at the top of the page. 😉

While transcribing the interview I liked in particular the questions at the end of the last part of the interview, when Gabriele asked me about the prices and the diffusion of PDAs with a bit of skepticism. Well, we are the country of mobile phones after all, as he often says, and we still have much difficulty to understand the true potential of PDAs not only as personal organizers but also as mini computers, at least compared to other countries. That may change quickly as PDAs with phone capabilities and new Smartphones will start to spread out.

I think my last answers will hold some true even for the next Christmases, who knows?

You may also notice on the left column of this page I adopted the Creative Commons license model for the contents of the website and the link to Firefox, the only browser I’m using.

I even ordered a custom CC shirt from Ken Mickles at I’ll take a picture of it once it’ll be here.

Watch the videos and stay tuned for more news about Ecpc. 8)

Update: we’re almost there, Ecpc 1.4 will be released in a few days. In the meantime you can read my latest articles about the Loox 720 and the Microsoft Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program published here on the local daily newspaper La Provincia.


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How does the Loox look?

Loox 720It’s just a word joke, but now that a Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox 720 is in my hands I can give an answer to that question: the Look rocks, definitely! 🙂

It was a while I was examining the latest VGA Pocket PC models for the next purchase and when I read about the Loox 720 and its exceptional overall features in various reviews I decided that was the one I had to get although the wallet wouldn’t have agreed as much as the will.

What a display!” has been the recurring first exclamation when I showed it to friends last week, but from the best VGA LCD on the market to the loudspeaker positioned on the front side there are a lot of killer features inside this limousine among current PDAs.

I got it from Clove Technology, and they were kind to check for any dead pixels on the LCD before shipping it. The italian version should be available in february from Trilogy, although I really hope to see more stuff and accessories for the Loox from this new italian shop soon enough.

In fact the first thing I’m going to add is a screen protector to safeguard such a punch in the eyes! 😉

Then a nice case, and then who knows, surely any useful software optimized for VGA. I’ll write more about the Loox, but the first impression I got is that VGA is the future. I purchased my first Pocket PC to be able to increase productivity, being able to read documents away from the PC, so now with 4x times the resolution of a QVGA Pocket PC you can imagine my joy in reading docs on the Loox! :mrgreen:

Of course I’ve already installed the useful GAPI speed up driver hack by Picard and SE_VGA which is invaluable when using PIE to browse the Internet.

I’ve already did some experiments with the VGA Emulator in the past months, but the impact of seeing such an amount of pixels on a real 3.6-inch LCD is a completely different thing.

I’ve no more excuses to not work on a VGA version of Ecpc. Actually Ecpc, as any other software designed for a QVGA display, does look too much blocky due to pixel doubling routines. Adding detail is a lot more fun, easier and in the end rewarding than removing it to adapt the interface of Ecpc to the smaller Smartphone display, for example. 😉

Loox 720

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Il Sole and his Planiverso

Il SoleJust before Christmas I decided to make myself a special gift, obviously ignoring what would have happened a few days later in South East Asia.

I became a member of Il Sole, a charity organization active with distance adoption and abused women recovery programs in countries such as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and India.

Thanks to my Uncles who are members since a long time I had the pleasure to get in touch with this organization a bit at a time and to appreciate the work and the outstanding results of its staff and the genuine dedication of his president and founder Olivia Piro.

So in the end this appreciation naturally turned into my decision to support them once I was able to do it. Then the deadly Tsunami stroke and brought his waves of destruction up to India including Pallepalem, a village in the Nellore district where Il Sole operates. It’s a village of fishers (Pallekars) and the 394 families living there lost all their mud-huts and their boats, so Il Sole immediately decided to act in two phases, a first emergency one in which they provided rice, medicines, water and sheets, now concluded, and a more financially demanding second phase aiming at rebuilding the fishing activity to gradually overcome the damages caused by the Tsunami. You can visit their website and read this article published by the local daily newspaper La Provincia and decide to give your help in their project.

This is a real way to help the Tsunami victims in my opinion, not by SMS. 😉

When I became a member I also purchased some of their merchandise I’m proud to wear, but there was a really original thing I couldn’t miss: the Planiverso.

As you can read in the description it’s actually a big poster showing the world upside down with the meaning to give back dignity to the so called third world. I like it because it’s cool and with a serious meaning at the same time, but now that it’s hanging on the wall of my room I can’t but notice the area around the Indian Ocean every time I look at it.

It’s as if the Tsunami did really put the world upside down…


Update: Mrs. Piro wrote a touching letter to La Provincia about the Tsunami tragedy. After some days of thinking I wrote my reply which you can read here. They cut it a bit, but they did it perfectly since you can read here on the blog what’s missing.


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The funny De-Lurking Day

DeLurking DayThis is so amusing I couldn’t agree more, since it’s about a matter I’m involved in myself: Lurking. 😉

I spotted it on manteblog, the blog of Massimo Mantellini, but the original idea comes from paper napkin.

Statistics tell the true, but are they just numbers? Oh, no, there are real people behind those “unique contacts” which make up for those graphs, don’t they?

So they proposed the De-Lurking Day by inviting readers to leave a trace of their usually silent presence writing a comment on the author’s blog.

There isn’t the chance to comment on my blog, at least until the new website will be up and running (hint! hint!), but if you’re in the mood why don’t you send me a “Hello, I’m the lurker which made your #### unique contact of the day!”? 🙂

Ehm, no I won’t start donating 1 Euro to aid the Tsunami victims for each e-mail I’ll receive. Sheryl of paper napkin did that and had to close the comments due to their unexpected high number!

Do you know italians donated a total of 28 millions through the 1 Euro per SMS campaign for the South East Asia tragedy?

The whole total will go for the donation campaign, but mobile operators will be happy when we’ll understand our credit needs recharging sooner than expected. Even I fell into the “trap”… and I’ve already recharged the credit, doh!

There are better ways to donate out there by using your credit card or other payment methods.

Seneca once said “Who spends his life traveling very often will have many guests, but no friends”. Change traveling into browsing and guests into reading blogs and we’re talking about the same thing: Lurking. 8)

I’m a lurker myself because I love silence and I work better in silence. Today you’ve got the chance to not be the usual lurker if you’ll e-mail me. Don’t take the bad example of some friends who can click on anything, but can’t write a few characters in a simple e-mail…

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Light Up Only Your Dreams Announced

LoydHere we go with another update planned since a long time. 😉

Today has been a sort of D-day in Italy since it came into force the law forbidding smoke in public locals.

There have been a lot of talk about it lately, with different opinions on both sides, smokers and non-smokers, often losing sight of the real meaning of this law just like only we italians can do: it’s a law which expresses a strong civic sense since it represents a victory of the respect for the good health of non-smokers.

Something that has no relation at all with the argumentations of smokers who (consciously) forget their affection is not a bad habit, but a deadly disease actually.

But what does this have to to with me?

Well, passive smoke did affect me negatively for the last years, then there could ever have been a better time to announce my new educational software application I was planning to build in the last months? 8)

Given its educational nature and my strong commitment to the subject matter this will be a totally No Profit work.

You can get more info about this project in the products page. All I can add for now is that this project, called “Light Up Only Your Dreams” will proceed as quickly as I’ll manage to organize priorities during the next months, but a release for the 31st may, the World No Tobacco Day looks too good to be true!

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The Incredible Tide

ConanThis is the original title of the book by Alexander Key which inspired the japanese anime of my childhood, Future Boy Conan (Mirai Shounen Konan) by Hayao Miyazaki.

Finding that book and purchasing the DVDs of the anime was on my to do list since a very long time. Then suddenly on december 26th a real incredible tide stroke South East Asia, a world tragedy I think will remain impressed in our memory like a few others. The reference to the anime came immediately to my mind, since the tide which changed the world of Conan impressed me a lot when I was a child.

Well, now watching those terrible videos as well as the astonishing satellite images of the areas involved by the real tsunami made me feel breathless and almost as without the earth under my feet, although I watched it from a warm home.

It will take time to fully understand the real proportions of this tragedy, but by finally being able to read the book by Alexander Key I’d like to close with a quote by Hayao Miyazaki, which sums up the meaning of the book and gives a hint of hope to the people involved in the tragedy, both those who faced the tide in first person and those who watched it from a safe distance and are now willing to help:

“What fascinated me about the book was its main meaning: at the fall of any ‘great civilization’ some ‘primitives’ always take the lead, not to be intended in negative terms, but as people with a great vital strength, full of vitality and willing to rebuild a new world. It’s their vital pulse which captured me.”

I think you’ll agree these are wise and current words. I’ll write again about this event in one of the next updates.

Update: speaking about satellites, on December 23rd the local daily newspaper La Provincia published my full page article about GPS and TomTom Go.


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