I, robot seen

I finally saw that movie (one day before it was it in France, for more fun). I expected it to be much worse. Many ppl criticised the choice of Will Smith as the main actor, but he did very well IMO.

The movie (the story) is well balanced between what you can think of the future. The 3 laws are mostly a myth now and will never be applied as such in thinking machines (physical robots may be). But the rest is quite valid. And this issue of wether robots should take control for the safety of humanity/earth is a dense question. The answer of the movie (dunno about the original book) is quite simple and quickly chosen in the movie. Maybe another movie focused on this issue would be even more interresting !


New File System needed

One of the first thing I wanted to do with this blog was write an article on the need for a new File System for computers. This article goes in the same direction, even though it's a bit modest compared to what I have in mind.

Here are some of the requirements I have in mind :
  • native 64 bits support (for almost unlimited file sizes unlike FAT32)
  • portable to be used on either Windows, Linux and OSX
  • open source and patent free (to be usable for free on any device)
  • support symbolic link (not well supported on Windows and OS X)
  • support insertion and deletion of parts without needing to rewrite to a new file (not found anywhere I know yet), a cleanup of the FS could be done during idle time to commit these changes irremediable
  • support attributes/meta-data better than on OS X (UNIX commands lose such attributes)


Music Business

As seen previously it seems the AllOfMP3 business model for distribution is the one that make more sense (digital data cost much less to distribute). But that's only half of the music (or video) business. The other parts is selling rights.

On AOMP3 they sell you full rights music. But we know that current distributors and artists don't like that because it helps piracy. So their solution is DRM... In such a perspective (that you don't trust the average user or don't want to tolerate piracy) there should be different levels of right buyings : one-time playing, x-time playing, unlimited playback and also one listener, x-listeners (later named by an ID or belonging to a group) and unlimited listeners. This would make a complex business and a complex hardware+software solution. That's why it takes so long to emerge (since a consensus should be reached among all key players to avoid being locked in a dead world). In the end it may work. But that would be against the "culture is free for all". Which is another system that could live, but they are both exclusive. Noone knows which one will win...

Portable Music

I was about to buy the new H-340 from iRiver to be able to listen to my music from everywhere at any time I wish in good quality and with many tracks (40GB HD and support MP3, Vorbis, WMA). Unfortunately it doesn't support AAC. And I don't want to buy it knowing it may never support it (for licensing, hardware, marketing reasons). So I'll wait for something else.

The solution to my problem might come from wireless communication. Instead of embedding the music in a heavy HD, it could be downloaded directly from my home where all my music resides. Some cellphones or PDA could do that already, provided the software can be enhanced to support the nice formats (HE-AAC, Vorbis, Wavpack Lossy). And the price of such devices is about the same as the heavier H-340. But the technology is not ready yet. For good quality it would mean downloading music at about 256kbps and that my home could also offer such an upstream bandwidth (it is actually the case but that means no VBR possible or other flexibilites). The most important problem is that GPRS don't offer such a guaranteed bandwidth, WiFi hotspots are too rare yet, UMTS is not here yet, it will be hard to use when moving to other countries (roaming) and the price of bandwidth is too much (1h of music/day = 3600*32 KB = 115.200 KB of data = 1.152 Euros on iMode, 1 Euro would already be a big price). So it will be possible in the future, but not now. Once it's there most people will probably use such a feature either from their personal connection or from online radio stations... Until then (probably 2 or 3 years from now) I'll have to find the right interim solution...


I, robot

As the movie "I, Robot" is going to be released soon. There is a growing interrest in what robots could be able to do one day, and especially the brain inside these robots.

Some people try to take the defense of robots. While other critics the 3 Laws of Asimov and say these laws will break quite soon. It seems that, on each sides, scientists are trying to get people's attention on what the future could be and that we should prepare to it (as I've been thinking for months now).

On a related subject, I was thinking about a world were not robots would try to become human or pretend to be, but humans would try to pretend to be robots... When you think this way you can clearly see that it's impossible. We are not flexible enough.

And still related to the subject, I was also thinking about the speed boost that would give electronics/AI to a human brain. But it's still a physical thing, with a maximum speed and limited resources (RAM size) so robots will have the same kind of limits that we have. Just a huge speed advantage. But they will not be able to answer all questions and take everything in perspective at once. It won't be the all-knowng-thing because of these limits. But they will appear like they are to humans because their resources will look infinite to us...


Matroska CD

It is now possible to make an exact copy of an audio CD into a single file and be able to play the file as you would from a CD. You can even store the lyrics, cover and more meta-informations in that single file.

I'm glad Matroska (and Matroska only) finally makes this reality come true. That was one of my initial goal :D

All this with open-source technology. That means it can be tweaked and improved with time. (currently working as an alpha state solution)

I also hope this will soon be popular among audio pirates. But for that we'll need to had support for MKA and various codecs in the most popular players : Windows Media Player, Winamp, RealPlayer, Quicktime.


Space for music

I did a quick estimation of all my CDs and apparently I have about 1100 of them. And probably 500 vynils or more.

Of course it's not all made of albums. There are a lot of singles. But I estimate the average duration of 40 minutes... So after a quick calculation, I would need approx 300GB of space to store my music losslessly. This is already possible with current hardware technology. The problem is to chose the codec and the container... For the container of course it has to be Matroska ;) But for the codec I think the WavPack hybrid mode would be ace. This way when you need to move data on a smaller device you only keep the lossy part (somehow transparent) of the date (100GB should be OK at 256kbps). Unfortunately it's not well supported on handled devices or much players (like DirectShow or QuickTime). Hopefully it will change soon thanks to our team :)

Matroska back on track

Yesterday I finally (almost) finished the work on the new server/website for Matroska. It was a long and hard work (UNIX configuration) but I'm glad I finally made it... At some point it reminded me the periods I work so hard on Matroska that I wouldn't think about anything else. That's a good sign I'm really back at work, with full of ideas and projects...


While thinking about this "understanding without knowning" (which some other people call tacit knowledge) I was talking the infinite insight knowledge/understanding can give you. This has to do with harmony. When everything you know/think/understanding are going in the same "direction". This is a kind of tacit knowledge that you are right. But as it's a kind of knowledge that is hard to describe (maybe that's something that should be worked out) and therefore noone can really contradict you and maybe you are totally wrong. So one has to be very cautious with one's feelings. Even though it's usually healthier to trust them.



I watched this movie this evening. The movie in itself is so-so. But the life of this woman was quite interresting. Almost as good as my Milena when I met her (quite strange to name a baby after this woman) even though in some parts of her life I could see myself instead of Milena...

I especially liked this quote:
Those who don't know are silly, those who know and do nothing are criminals

That's sort of the philosophy behind what I'm trying to do, what I'm working on...

CD is back ?

Of course it never went away, not even vynil, not even tapes (well, it is in the western world).

But this article is interresting in many aspects. I especially like this one :
Why not just sell the last 45 seconds of Nessun Dorma - the bit everyone can hum? Or the first two lines of the National Anthem - the only words most of us can ever remember?

Then he talks about the idea of a flat-fee payment for music and then you do whatever you want... This is of course a good idea, but AllOfMP3 is having it even better : you pay for the amount of what you download, depending on the quality and length of the music. The ultimate fair deal...


New Meeting

I met Marta last evening at one of her friend's place. It was really nice (and she is very nice), both funny and interresting. I always like to meet new people, especially friendly ones. We talked about different things and watched the football game. It was a pleasure to hear her and her slovenian friend make comments in their own native language ! Maybe I'll see Marta again when she's around, or maybe not. It's not up to me anyway...

Acte Manqué

I finally didn't manage to go to the CinéMix on saturday. I felt like going, but I was on 2C-I for the last time and didn't feel like sitting for an hour passively watching a movie. So on my way to the Max Linder I got back home and just spend the evening listening to music, watching fractals and thinking... It was a weird moment, both very negative and very positive. So all in all, it was OK. (and it's so good not to be where everyone expects you) Maybe I'll go to the same CinéMix next week-end if I manage to get details on how to get there.


Thinking Machines

So, are humans only thinking machines ? Or are we capable of understanding without knowing ? (which would mean knowledge is not so important) I think we are... So machines could be ?... Only if they are built from an evolutionary process. That will keep the whole memory of the past in its "genes".


Abusive Patents

I was thinking about this patent thing... Once again a company is claiming to have a patent on a widely used thing. And some sites have already paid them for this patent... I'm not sure if it exists, but when paying for such a patent there should be a contract between the patent holder and the "infringer" stating that if he patent gets canceled (which will probably happen to this one) the patent holder has to give all the money back... That would make patent seekers more careful with what they are doing/patenting. Unfortunately I don't know if such a claim could be forced by the law. But it would be nice...



I finally received the Matroska t-shirts I ordered at CafeShop. I didn't have a look yet, but I hope they look good. I also have to pay a 30% import tax :'( I wish the same service would exist in Europe, and also with black shirts...

Revolutionary or Disruptive

Another article on this blog that seems very close to what I think. Like these in the comments :
It is apparent to you, me, and the readers of this blog, that MM is coming, and that it will be disruptive in the extreme, and that we, as a society, a species, and a world, are not prepared for that disruption.

So that's what I'd encourage everyone here to do - pass the word along in person to your friends to help disseminate the knowledge of what’s coming sooner than they think.

Fear of the Nanotech Arms Race

Very interresting yet scary article on how nanotechnologies could be used as weapons.
One thing is that machines (robots, computers, whatever) could design systems that would control us (like delivering drugs without asking us) without our consent. That's an enforcement of what I would call a peacful cohabitation... But since we wouldn't even realise... Maybe Matrix wasn't that far on what machines can do. But I think the human race is more dangerous than conscious (all-knowing) machines.
there'll be plenty of opportunity for both laziness and productivity