2004-10-30

G. Zola honorary member of the Order of the British Empire

The italian soccer player Gianfranco Zola spent seven seasons at Chelsea in the U.K.
He is about to get honoured for his services to football. Zola will receive his award from the British Ambassador in Rome on Monday.

What I find very interesting is: Tributes to Gianfranco Zola, on the Chelsea F.C. Web site.

This wonderful story is not "just" sport.

2004-10-29

EU leaders sign European constitutional treaty

"Today, twenty-fiveflags are flying out there on the Campidoglio, and with them the flag of a united Europe,representing over 450 million European citizens. Very shortly, with the signing of the Constitutional Treaty, Europe's citizens will be able to recognise themselves in shared principles and values".

On the EU Web site, all the speeches of this very important day for the future of Europe.

2004-10-26

Leonardo superstar


Leonardo da Vinci, wow!
His complete name actually was: "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci", which means "Leonardo, son of Piero, from Vinci". Vinci is a little town in Tuscany, near Firenze.

Art? Look at this: Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine). (~1490)
(ok, also the famous Gioconda (aka Monna Lisa) is beautiful).

What else?
Anatomy? Natural? Engineering? Maps?

One (amongst many) very interesting is the "Vitruvian man".

Its name is for Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman writer, architect and engineer of the 1st century BC, who studied human proportions. There are also some curiosities about its geometry.

2004-10-24

Languages in Europe

From the European Union Web portal, you can crash into interesting statistics about usage of languages amongst europeans.

45% of European citizens can take part in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue.



The following table shows for each Member State the three most widely spoken languages apart from the mother tongue, and the percentage of people speaking them:




European Commission vs EP

Outgoing European Commision (EC) president Prodi says "Arrivederci", and new president Barroso is trying to get the go for his new commission. Although, the European Parliament (EP) looks like wants to say something about the commission composition. It's not just an opinion, the EC needs EP approval for getting in charge.
Barroso's commissioner-designate list got into some trouble and discussions (1, 2, 3).

Are all those Good or Bad news?

What I find very interesting, is that it looks like EP is really discussing about SOMETHING and all europeans can someway partecipate into the discussion (or at least have common visibility of that discussion). And that is good.
Barroso most probably did not list people nice to him, rather politicians indicated by states, which in the whole forms a reasonable political-equilibrium. The EP finally started talking about CONTENT, and that is what really cares to european people. All of them.

EP vs EC, what if... Barroso commission does not get enough votes?

Last note: Probably Barroso will eventually succeed, though from now on (hopefully) the EC have millions of european eyes looking at them.

2004-10-23

The Web for laughing...

http://www.funnyjunk.com/

http://www.allfunnypictures.com

http://www.the-jokes.com/

http://www.maineiac.com/



2004-10-21

Chinese Personal Names

Prof.David K. Jordan produced interesting material about chinese language. Do you know your xing and mìng? Of course you do. Check out the Chinese Personal Names, quite interesting.

If you are brave and want to go further, start studying the guide to Pronouncing Mandarin.

Probably you also might be interested into yin and yang. (I know, now you can't wait for leaving G Notes blog... probably that's my intent..., maybe a day (or very soon) you'll be back here again...).

2004-10-20

English common errors

Paul Brians collected an interesting set of Common Errors in English usage.
That's quite interesting reading for all of us who are not english mother-tounge (oh yea, you could easily guess that I'm not native speaker from these pages... ;-).

Another resource, about grammar, good content (though, I do not love the page organization) is this one: Internet Grammar of English.

Here some other common mistakes.

P.S.: What is "grammar" for a British? The mother of the mother... ;-D
(Mick S. told me this on 1999).

2004-10-19

China economy to grow 9.4%

[article from China Daily online]
<>2004-10-10 China's economy is expected to grow 9.4 per cent this year and slow slightly to 8.9 per cent next year, reported the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at a symposium on China's economic situation in Beijing yesterday.
[...]
"If there are no major breaking events internationally, or severe natural disasters or other big domestic issues, the country's economy is capable of maintaining a growth rate of more than 8 per cent next year, due to the country's macro-control measures," he said.
[...]
However, some prominent problems in the economy have not been fundamentally rooted out, he said. Energy and transportation bottlenecks, possible rebound in fixed asset investments and the fast decline in money supply and loans are still troubling, he said.

Niu Li, a senior economist at the State Information Centre, said the government should also be alert to a further price rise, as price pressure has already become very large. <>"While food prices remain at a high level, international oil prices are rising rapidly," he said.
[...]
The price rise would have a certain negative impact on ordinary people's lives, Niu said.
[...]
The consumer price index, policy makers' key inflation gauge, rose a year-on-year 4 per cent during the first eight months of this year, earlier figures indicate. <>This means Chinese citizens have already suffered a negative interest rate, according to Qi Jingmei, another economist with the centre.
[...]
A negative interest rate also leads to a decline in bank deposits, she said. "This will make their purchasing power drop."

"Some low-income families have even begun to worry whether their income can meet the basic needs for food and clothing," Qi said.

"Their health could also become at risk, because they will buy the cheapest products and not pay enough attention to the quality of food."
[...]

Indian Economy to grow at 7%

[article from the very interesting newspaper: The Hindu online]

NEW YORK, OCT. 18. The Indian economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of at least 7 per cent, according to a study conducted by American investment bank Merrill Lynch.
[...]
It listed five areas that would have an effect on the corporate climate in the country over the next year and a half. They are: compounded growth rate of 7 per cent for the next several years (more than the 6-6.5 per cent witnessed over the past few years); rise in government investment, particularly in such sectors as infrastructure; slowdown in consumption growth because of rising inflation and interest rates; globalisation, which will affect earnings; and earnings per share, which could be 20 per cent from the current 15 per cent.
[...]
On globalisation, Mr. Jaipuria said, "It will no doubt have its pros and cons. On the positive side, it would open up new markets for India or bring down production costs boosting revenues and profits". On the negative side, the study said, corporate bodies need to gear up their management systems and prepare for challenges.

Indian companies were showing signs of self-confidence and more international acquisitions are likely after the revamp of several corporate bodies, the study said.

UNI

Nobel Prize

You surely know the famous "Nobel Prize", awarded every year as per Alfred Nobel last will and testament (1833-1896). The Swedish inventor A.Nobel invented the dynamite.



Here his quote:
"My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world
conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace"


I'd say, that prediction was not really good, though it got the gist of a concept later used for the nuclear weapons.

Alfred nobel, an interesting story:
http://www.almaz.com/nobel/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Nobel
http://www.britannica.com/nobel/micro/427_33.html
http://nobelprize.org/nobel/alfred-nobel/


Nobel prize is awarded for each of the following categories: literature, physics, chemistry, peace, economics, and medicine.
here the official web site: http://nobelprize.org/

Very cute the educational sections of: Physics , Chemistry
Medicine, Literature , Peace.





2004-10-18

Pericles on Athenian Democracy

Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. . . . Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to judge at all events if we cannot originate, and instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all. . . .
In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas; while I doubt if the world can produce a man, who where he has only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so happy a versatility as the Athenian.

[Source: Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, (translated by Richard Crawley, 1951), pp.104-106.]



Notre constitution est un exemple à suivre. Du fait que l'Etat, chez nous, est administré dans l'intérêt de la masse, et non d'une minorité, notre régime a pris le nom de démocratie. En ce qui concerne les différends entre particuliers, l'égalité est assurée à tous par les lois ; mais en ce qui concerne la participation à la vie publique, chacun obtient la considération en raison de son mérite, et la classe à laquelle il appartient importe moins que sa valeur personnelle. Enfin, nul n'est gêné par la pauvreté et par l'obscurité de sa condition sociale

Thucydide, Guerre du péloponnèse, II, 37.




Qui ad Atene noi facciamo così. Il nostro governo favorisce i molti invece dei pochi per questo è detto democrazia. Un cittadino ateniese non trascura i pubblici affari quando attende alle proprie faccende private. Ma in nessun caso si occupa delle pubbliche faccende per risolvere le sue questioni private. Qui ad Atene noi facciamo così, ci è stato insegnato a rispettare i magistrati e c'è stato insegnato a rispettare le leggi, anche quelle leggi non scritte la cui sanzione risiede soltanto nell'universale sentimento di ciò che è giusto e di buon senso. La nostra città è aperta ed è per questo che noi non cacciamo mai uno straniero. Qui ad Atene noi facciamo così".

Pericle (495 - 429 a.c.).


2004-10-16

Wassily Kandinsky

Art is not meant to be understood, but to be liked and enjoied! Isn't it?

I do not know anything about Wassily Kandinsky, but I do love looking at his paintings.

Yellow-Red-Blue (1925)

http://www.free-screen-savers.to/art/kandinski.html


Black and Violet (1923)

http://www.lsi.usp.br/~artigas/kandinsky/kandinsky.html



To the Unknown Voice (1916)

http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/artists/wassily_kandinsky/index_kandinsky.html



On Points (1928)

http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/artists/wassily_kandinsky/index_kandinsky.html



This post has been specifically studied so that you
immediately leave my blog (G Notes) and go look at such wonderful paintings:

Artcyclopedia - http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/kandinsky_wassily.html

Artchive - http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kandinsky.html

Olga's Gallery - http://www.abcgallery.com/K/kandinsky/kandinsky.html

Strategy and Open Source Business Models (and not)

Are you into the IT business?
So, you might already know that since into this world resources usually cost, it looks like software development in Open Source (like any other activity) needs a working business model, which says how you generate revenue for sustaining the activity. Obvious as 1+1.

It looks to me that a lot of what is around Open Source Software (OSS) is not real-world business models, they are "just" marketing strategies.

In reality, all is mixed up, and there are exceptions, but let me explain what I mean.

An OSS project can also get resources either from users who are strongly interested in such software, or by hobbists who like fiddling with technology, etc.
So, looks like we can talk of business model for each project, which works (in many cases it works very well). But it is also true that many projects are fed by a Business Strategy, rather than a pure interest into the resulted products.

E.g. IBM smartly gives Eclipse, then will sell Rational products to the educated customers (plus will get an ide for their app.server). Another case: some (many?) want Mozilla Firefox Web browser to be an excellent product (and actually it is) and give it for free, and this stop Microsoft I.Exporer to eat the whole pie and throw standard spec out of the window.

What is that for? Not strategy per-se, of course, but with the unique ultimate goal of keeping healthy real business models for other products.

When you want to persue a strategy, and have enough money, you can make whatever projct work. Just your strategy feeds the business model.

The question is: excluding these strategy-fed cases, what are the real business models that can work for Open Source?

Oh, yes. I think there are.
Furthermore, I think we are experiencing e tremendously interesting innovation in the product/services market models.

Stop now. Too many different aspects to discuss about this, for a single post. Ad too many questions would arise.

It would be very nice to create a collection of collections of business models for OSS, then discuss in which scenarios those can be successful.



2004-10-14

What was I looking for?

Yep. That has not been an absolute surprise, though, quite interesting.
Google is releasing a program for searching INTO your PC files:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3744228.stm

let's take this quote:
If there's anything you once saw on your computer screen, we think you should be able to find it again quickl
Marissa Mayer, Google

Wow! Sounds great! (at least, we can say they hired good marketing folks)
So... may I think that this is just a first step of this fabolous technology?
Will we be able to locate content not just browsing folders, or by file names,
wow! cool! also with drawing! cool! even singing (badly) a song, it'll find my
preferred mp3 file! coooool! very cool!
Even getting further, I'll be able to use 3D semantic concept maps, and (wow!)
it'll use context information (double wow!), with complex virtual reality
it'll be like looking for objects on your desk or your cabinet!!!

...mmm

Actually, I am not very successful when I look for stuff on my desk or cabinet...

Ok. Stop dreaming. Maybe that Google stuff will just help a bit...


Let's start.

Hi everybody!
I am pleased to oficially announce the beginning of this blog.

Warning: that is going to be mostly useless for most of you
(I did not say completely useless for all of you, though...),
so if you are dammed to be in such little elite of
lucky (?) people who had a wonderful chance once-in-a-life
to visit this Notes, please considering switching your PC off
and escape for healthier places...

This blog is optimized for human being, with a working brain.
If you are compliant (or just curious) you will find a lot
of strange brainwawes materialized in bad english.

Enjoy!




Listed on Blogwise