29 novembre 2007

Scroogled in italian

I just published the italian translation of "Scroogled", by Cory Doctorow, who kindly linked my page to his site. As usual, my italian translation is strictly for zero-english-knowledge people. If you can, you should read the original work.

Cory Doctorow’s » Stories

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03 novembre 2007

7zip pwns Zipgenius

Free compression software:

I used to be a ZipGenius fan, for its reliability, stability, for wide range of filetype supported, and last but not least, because is Italian software.

I adopted 7zip after the weekly antivirus scan showed a possible threat in the ZipGenius folder, and I totally uninstalled ZipGenius: 7zip is even more reliable, more stable, supports more compression formats than you'll ever use, and last but not least, is open source.

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17 ottobre 2007

Definitely: I want one

Today ASUS announced the long-waited ultraportable EEE notebook.

Here you will find the specs: ASUS | Eee PC
Here you will find pricing info: 華碩 Eee PC 正式上市 - Engadget 癮科技

The most attractive feature being the price. If you look for the best mobility device, you can't choose a 20'' laptop, because isn't mobility.
You can't choose a smartphone either, keybord too small and display too small.

The best device would be a TX series Sony Vaio, but the price tag isn't just too high: it prevents people to buy it because if you have a Vaio TX you have to take it everywhere with you. But then, your chances to have it lost or stolen are higher and higher.

If you, like me, could afford to buy a laptop so expensive, but you can't afford (or you just can't bear) to lose a 3000 US$ gadget, you will not buy a Vaio.

The price tag of the most expensive EEE should be less than 300 EUR. I want one.

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12 ottobre 2007

tIpNo: tarallini

Things I put Nutella on: tarallini

- Tarallini availability scarce except in Southern Italy.
- Overall taste: good but not great.

Tarallini have a strong flavour that covers almost completely Nutella taste.
Long time Nutella fans know she (Nutella) gives her best with unsalty bread.

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tIpNo: banana.

Things I put Nutella on: banana.

- Easy to find components
- Overall taste: very good

The hazelnut flavour of Nutella mix very well with greasy fresh taste of banana.

Post scriptum: this is my first post Nutella related. It isn't the last. If you have suggestion, or experience, of things to spread Nutella on, write me and please send a picture as proof (as Digg readers used to say: "picture or didn't happen".)

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09 ottobre 2007

PC games are boring.

Recently I pointed out with my son that PC games, after you buy them, are almost free, and the gameplay is only time limited. In a video arcade you have rather a money limit, so playing PC games is more fun, because you haven't to worry for your wallet getting lighter.

I saw the first arcade games in 1980, the very first one being a car race (gosh) with a fake steering (but real enough), a gas pedal, and a whoppin' gamut of two gears (L and H)...
Then came Space Invaders, Pacman, Mario in all his flavors, and more, Star Wars with a fighter-like cockpit to immerse you in the game (very futuristic, very LucasArts, but so poorly realistic).

Then came Id Software, and when I saw Doom, running with dos4g in all his glory, I knew I will never ever spend a dime in a video arcade (I was 23). I have a strong dislike for fly simulators (too fake: the thrill in the flight is flying, like alcohol in beer - better drink tap water than alcohol-free beer). I have a strong dislike for adventures too. Adventure games are so time expensive, requiring hours and hours even for little advances - think about the beginning of Grim Fandango.

My interest was therefore captured by RPG-like games (once and for all: you can't have a real RPG playing alone, and when your PC AI will be sufficiently developed, well, you will be not alone anymore...). Diablo and Rainbow 6 helped me to kill some cumbersome hours, then I reached for the top with Deus Ex: Invisible War.

Stunning graphic, a convincing plot, easy to play (no: rifle and flamethrowers sharing the same ammo diminishes obviously your perception of a real story, but keeping account for ten or twelve ammos type is too far from the patience I'd like to put in a game, so why bother? I like to know the plot, feel part of your movie. I hate throwing away hours adjusting my inventory. And again, being short is not a defect, I left undone the first part (Deus Ex) for being too long.

And now, I cannot find a PC game sufficiently great (oxymoron intended) to spend all my three hours per year that I budgeted for PC games. Oblivion, Dungeon Siege II, Neverwinter Nights II are too boring for me. I just hope Deus Ex 3 will be as terrific as his predecessors.

Should I try a console? Should I get out more?

Deus Ex: Invisible War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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04 ottobre 2007

Things I have done.

Recently I whined about lack of time, wishful to learn Alexander Technique and Japanese language (having the sole purpose to understand lyrics from Miyazaki's Conan Future Boy soundtrack). Thanks to the 'net, part of my wish is already fulfilled: below you will find the original Conan lyrics and the Portuguese translation to help you understand them (although the cited online Dictionary is very useful, too).

Next stop: Alexander Technique.

Ima Chikyuu Ga Mezameru Lyrics

Umi wa aoku nemuri
Daichi ni inochi mebae

Soshite sora ga soshite sora ga
Ashita o yume mite

Hora umarekawatta chikyû ga
Mezame no asa o mukaeru
Oyoge namiketate hashire

Tsuchi o keri
Konna ni chikyû ga suki dakara

Konna ni yoake ga utsukushii kara
Utae koe awase odore kata o kumi

Konna ni chikyû ga suki dakara
Konna ni yoake ga utsukushii kara

Ima Chikyuu Ga Mezameru (tradução) Lyrics

umi wa aoku nemuri
(O mar em soneca azul.)
daichi ni inochi mebae
(A vida renasce pela terra.)

soshite sora ga soshite sora ga
(E no céu, e no céu...)
ashita o yume mite
(...sonhos do amanhã.)

hora umarekawatta chikyû ga
(Olhe! A Terra renascida...)
mezame no asa o mukaeru
(...recebe a manhã.)

oyoge namiketate hashire tsuchi o keri
(Nade contra as ondas. Corra e chute o solo.)
konna ni chikyû ga suki dakara
(Porque você ama tanto a Terra.)
konna ni yoake ga utsukushii kara
(Porque o amanhecer é tão lindo.)

utae koe awase odore kata o kumi
(Coloquem suas vozes juntas e cantem.)
konna ni chikyû ga suki dakara
(Porque você ama tanto a terra.)
konna ni yoake ga utsukushii kara
(Porque o amanhecer é tão lindo.)

Shiawase No Yokan Lyrics

kokoro ga konna ni furueru no wa naze
ryôte ga sora e nobite iku no wa naze
ryôashi ga tsuchi o kette hashiru no wa naze

kokoro wa toareru shiawase no yokan
ryôte wa tsukamu fukura miyuku kibô
ryôashi wa kakete iku haru kara chihei

ikite iru kara
ashita ga aru kara
chikyû ga mawatte iru kara

Shiawase No Yokan (Tradução) Lyrics

Por que é que meu coração treme tanto?
Por que é que eu levanto minhas mãos ao céu?
Por que meus pés chutam o solo e correm assim?

Eu tenho uma premonição de boa sorte em meu coração.
Eu seguro em minhas mãos as esperanças crescentes.
Meus pés caminham em direção do horizonte.

Porque estou vivo!
Porque existe um amanhã!
Porque a Terra gira sem parar!

MIRAI SHOUNEN CONAN Lyrics - Future Boy Conan - Music
Future Boy Conan - X-Y-Z-Cosmonaut's CosmoBlog - by xyzcosmonaut
Online English to Japanese to English Dictionary

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01 ottobre 2007

Kirikou e la sorciere - lyrics

Dans le village l'eau et les hommes
avaient disparu
Le femmes pleuraient et tremblaient
devant la sorcière
Kiriku seul savait ou trouver
notre grand-père
mon ami
nous a redonné la vie

Kiriku n'est pas grand,
mais il est vaillant
Kiriku est petit,
mais c'est mon ami
Kiriku n'est pas grand,
mais il est vaillant
Kiriku est petit,
mais c'est mon ami

Sur la route des flamboyants
Du haut de la case de Karaba
Le fétiches surveillant le village
Kiriku demand purquoi
Karaba est si méchante
mon ami
nous a redonné la vie

R. Kiriku n'est pas grand...

Kiriku est petit,
mais c'est mon ami
Kiriku n'est pas grand,
mais il est vaillant

R. Kiriku n'est pas grand... (ad libitum)

28 settembre 2007

Stars and blood

The presence of heavier chemical elements (as Calcium, Iron, etc.) is not explained just as result of plain, boring nuclear fusion that makes stars burn. This is why Hydrogen and Helium are so abundant. The only way to form heavier elements is during a supernova explosion.

So, Calcium in your bones and Iron in your blood are nothing but pieces of dead stars.
This fact never cease to amaze me.

Astronomy Online - Modeling Supernova

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21 settembre 2007

Happens in Italy

A former Transport Minister was caught last sunday driving against the traffic on a freeway. Actually, in Italy neither freeways are *free*, so WTF?
There comes a cop: the Driver shows an ID Card (expired) proving he is a Parliament Member. And [therefore] he isn't fined.

There are two kind of people, those who believe police is here to protect, and those who believe police is here to vex. I am definitely in the first group, but this news give the police a bad name, leaving an overall sense of unfairness.

Next: former Health Minister smoking dope - stay tuned.

Burlando contromano in autostrada "Sono deputato", niente multa - cronaca -

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Update: the former Minister asked to be fined to the maximum extent of law: 1 year without drive license, 3 month without his car, a fine of 3.508 EUR for driving against the traffic + 72 EUR for driving w/out drive license.

Ok, maybe he did it to dodge the scandal, but nevertheless is a ginormous step beyond.

13 settembre 2007

Today my weight is greater (and yours, too).

The hi-tech cylinder of Platinum-Iridium stored in Sevres, near Paris (F), lost 50 micrograms since 1889. While scientists are worrying why The Kilogram has lost weight, I just performed a simple calculation:

50 micrograms are 0.00000005 kg

In this picture, a 100 kg person now weights 100.000005 kg, a whopping 5 mg more. Maybe is to blame the ice cream I ate yesterday? :-)

Kilogram has lost the weight of a fingerprint - Boing Boing

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09 settembre 2007

Noise and plain

Often who is against disco noise says: who haven't a thing to say loves to stay in the noise. I completely agree.

Again: somewhere, maybe in "The Teachings of Don Juan, A Yaqui way of Knowledge" by Carlos Castaneda (repeat: maybe), is stated that native americans were quite negative about skyscrapers. They believed white man build them to try and fill the void between earth and sky. But this void can be filled only with what is inside of you.

Likewise, several people I know feels a little nervous when in plain. Sure, such a vastness is likely to pull out what is inside of you; if there are just ugly things, which can you feel shameful or anxious, no surprise you hate plains.

Silence is but a sort auditive flat country: either you feel comfortable in it, or you have something that doesn't work.

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08 settembre 2007


Beppe Grillo (his blog is currently 12th on Technorati) launched today the so-called "Vaffanculo day" (namely: fuck off day), to collect a minimum of 50,000 signatures. With those signatures he will mainly promote a popular law to forbid convict politicians to run for the Parliament (and no, there is no such a law in Italy yet. Really.)

Here you will find a list of convict politicians who are currently members of Italian Parliament (actually they are 24, the english page has not been recently updated).

Since almost every mainstream media gave no hype to this event (demonstrating that every reference to V for Vendetta is correct). Hello? This is Italy, not North Corea, in case you were wondering.

More than 300,000 signatures were collected today.

Beppe Grillo's Blog: V-day: Instructions

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03 settembre 2007

Ocean Moon

I don't think it's photoshopped: breathtaking anyway, isn't it?
Link to the larger version after the jump.

Flickr Photo Download: Reflejo - Reflection

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04 agosto 2007

I am dying (and you too).

Recently I have turned 37, and I feel it's time to speak about life and death.

It comes a day you should admit you are not immortal. Ok. No worry. You know this fact since you were 7, 8? Everyone has to die. Grey hair? Very George Clooney, no problem. But when you begin to notice the first spider veins, you have no Clooney to hide behind. You're simply aging. When you are 93, statistically you are nearer to death, but you ought to be resigned, although some examples (Donald Crowdis, Mario Monicelli) have different opinions. No one is really prepared enough.

Things I would do having an unlimited amount of time: studying Alexander technique, studying japanese to understand the original soundtrack of Miyazaki's Future Boy Conan, etc... I think about learning something as a good way to use your time because I spent most of my life studying (and you can't be studying without dying), but feel free to change "studying" with "traveling" or whatever you like.

I hate to admit it, but I am afraid of death, the loss of consciousness being the most dreaded feature. Some people hate the very idea that the world, after their death, will be revolving exactly the same way as before. I am more consciousness-centric: and seeing Blade Runner ("All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain") haven't lift my mood.

Vanitas vanitatum. Is there something really worth? Maybe not, but some moments of joy can be really precious, so treasure them.

To keep me focused to miss no precious moment I think about things I will do if I am going to live until 81. Life is so short. 81 years are roughly 29,000 days (yes, lifespan IS that short). If I am going to live until 81, I have 44 years left. 16,000 days. 2,300 weeks. 528 months. I have suddenly realized I never saw a new moon. Do I have 528 chances left? Sometimes I need to take deep breaths.

Life's a bitch, then you die? So, the question is: why procreate? Because we have to (yes, this is why you think about sex so often), and because fail to do so will be the hardest form of censorship. And after all that I said, I still think that live and die is far better than not having a life at all.

So what's the (today's) bottom line? See the life instructions sign above (thanks, Chris!): after 10^40 years from now neither "our" protons will survive: let's have fun.

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28 giugno 2007

How Envy blew up xorg

Two days ago I installed Ubuntu 7.04 for the n-th time. I am motivated to add a piece every day until I will reach a good substitute for my Windows PC iMac. (Well, windows vs ubuntu is not a fair match...). The installation worked flawlessly. Yesterday I installed ies4linux, aka Internet Explorer for Linux. Runs perfectly on Ubuntu, and allows to navigate sites IE only even if they use M$ proprietary technologies like asp and ActiveX.

So this evening I wanted to install Beryl. Let's see what's did go wrong. [Note: using Vista@work and to Tiger@home, I could not resist installing a lights and candies GUI for linux: my problem.]

Here I found a command to verify the direct rendering, needed to run Beryl:

$ glxinfo | grep direct

$ direct rendering: No

No direct rendering? I had to update nVidia drivers (I have a nVidia video card, of course). I used Envy, an automatic video driver updater for Linux. Ok, let's try. Blam! xorg doesn't starts anymore. Linux isn't Windows, so I log on in text mode, seep through /etc/X11 and rename xorg.conf to xorg.conf.rtfm, and pick xorg.conf.backup (thanks God it's backup day) to xorg.conf.

$ sudo mv xorg.conf xorg.conf.rtfm

$ sudo mv xorg.conf.backup xorg.conf

$ startx, and everything is gonna be all right. No, the average salesman couldn't perform even such a simple repair, and this would have move him/her far away from Linux at least for 10 years. Alberto, please, add a routine to test if at the next reboot the system is running at the required runlevel.
The dwarf (nano, in Italian) is a tribute to nano, the text editor I used to find the difference between xorg.conf and xorg.conf.backup. The command I typed was

$ sudo nano xorg.conf
(incidentally, "sudo nano" means "I sweat, dwarf" in Italian, which is rather funny for a terminal command...)

Nano (text editor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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26 giugno 2007

CPDL is down?

Testing a new search engine to retrieve free music scores (you can find the link here), I didn't reach to browse on, home of the Choral Public Domain Library. I tried with several DNS resolvers, but not to avail. I hope it would be just a temporary down.

And if you have news regarding cpdl, please: let me know.

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23 giugno 2007

How to recover files from a damaged CD/DVD

If you, just like me, have had enough of I/O errors reading your optical media, this post is for you.
This method allows for recovering files from damaged CD/DVD by copying them byte to byte, using the Unix command dd.

WARNING: dd is a very powerful program, and if misused, can literally erase everything on your hard drives. And worst, dd is a no-warning, no-second-think, advanced-users only, Unix-style mean and lean program. See dd entry on Wikipedia for details.

This is the command you should run:
dd if=/Volumes/MY_DYD/File_to_retrieve.ext of=/Users/myuser/myfolder/File_retrieved.ext bs=512 conv=noerror, sync

dd: the command
if: input file
of: output file
bs: bytes size [512 bytes]
conv: conversion options [noerror, don't halt on errors; sync, pad with blanks the block containing the error]

If you specify a bs so small (512), in case of a large bad chunk on the medium you will obtain a lot of error logs. Let it go until you have the prompt again.

This method is expecially useful to recover damaged movies, because unless you have the file 50% corrupted (not very likely even in worst cases), you probably will strip a couple of frames from the movie, and the result will be perfect.
Of course if you are recovering file working as a whole, as a compressed archive or a RDBMS datafile, maybe padding the error with spaces may render useless the resulting file. As usual, YMMV.

dd is available under OSX and Linux (any). If you are running Windows, well, probably you are not an advanced user anyway, so why bother (and no, neither Robocopy nor NtBackup have the same functions of dd). Just in case, you can run dd under Windows via Cygwin. And if you don't know Cygwin, aka Unix shell for Windows, you better read the tutorial on Lifehacker.

dd MAN Page

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06 giugno 2007

Asus announce extra-cheap Notebook

Digging from PCPro, through Engadget and finally thanks to Engadget Chinese, I found some significative picture of the super cheap super light Asus Notebook, sporting a Linux OS (but a WinXP driver set is on its way), 1 to 32 GB SSD. The price tag is announced $ 199; as of today, corresponding to 147,407 EUR, roughly 1 EUR cheaper than Windows Vista Home Basic.

Let's wait for this magic box to be released (August 2007), I want one.

From the pictures you can see some specs (guessed by me):

- Full notebook keyboard

- Touchpad with one (one?) button

- LAN adapter (left side)

- 3 USB ports (1 left + 2 right)

- 1 VGA out (right)

- 1 SD card reader (? what's the little opening in the right side?)

- monitor roughly 9'' wide, 800 x 480.

I definitely want one.

COMPUTEX 2007 動手玩:Asus Eee PC 701 - Engadget 癮科技

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Why you should support Open Source

Briefly: Jamie Cansdale write an add-on for Visual Studio. Microsoft sends him a MVP award to congratulate. Unfortunately, the add-on works on Visual Studio Express Edition too. Someone in Redmond notices the fact, and tries to ask softly, then firmly, then threatens, and finally sends his lawyers to Jaime, to make him remove the Express Edition compatibility from his add-on.

Are you a pay-version user? Ok, you can use the add-on. Are you a miserable free version user? Are you trying to use add-ons? What does Microsoft resembles? A bunch of Open Source Freaks?

The correspondence between M$ and Jamie stretches for a year. Meanwhile, Redmond sends him another MVP award, readily withdrawn (Microsoft: this error put you in the same rank of italian TLC companies - for the record, they are all disgusting).

The deadline given by the M$ lawyers is today, @4PM. Jaime, don't back down. I hope this story will fire back to Microsoft enough for them to understand why Google, after given years, will buy them.

Microsoft threatens its Most Valuable Professional | The Register

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04 giugno 2007

02 giugno 2007

Space and children.

Today I was talking to my son Mario (6 years) about gravity force and I was trying to explain that:

  • an apple falls from the tree

  • the Moon turning around the Earth 
share the same cause. Ok, maybe is a little early (never underestimate childrens).

When I finally asked him: "Do you know why the Earth doesn't fall in the Sun?", he politely answered that the colorful ring (see image) is like a rail, thus the Earth and the other planets cannot steer off their guide." :-)

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Space pictures

If you like space pictures the way I do, be sure to check the linked website. I found this nice image of the Moon and Venus in their 10 yrs archive.

Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

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26 maggio 2007

About women figure

Since when I began to see women as the other half of the sky, I ever wondered why the perfect silhouette of a woman should be dictate by a bunch of gay stylists. I could tell you how skinny TV women gets our daughter anorexic, or why a skinny woman should be less appalling to your genes, because she is less likely to carry your children well.

I know is just a matter of fashion, and thanks to BoingBoing I found the linked advertising of this amazing product.

Boing Boing: Ad from 1934 promises to help you get fatter

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18 maggio 2007

Meaningful answers

Do you know the break-even to a happy life are $ 40,000? Do you think you should sue a sexual harasser? What should be the optimal length of a paperless CV?

Read on. Penelope's answer may amaze you.

N.B.: Read the italian version here.

How to Change the World: Ten Questions With Penelope Trunk: Career Guidance for This Century

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14 maggio 2007

Why I will buy a Widescreen monitor.

It's time to buy new monitor(s). Currently I am using two 17'' CRT (one for WinXp and one for Ubuntu), and an astonishing beautiful 20'' wide LCD on my iMac G5. No surprise, usually I work on the iMac. But is time to put into retirement the CRTs.

So I am searching for a 19'' or 20'' LCD monitor, with fast refresh time (less than 8 ms, the faster the better), possibly with Pivot function (which allows to use the monitor in portrait mode).

The pivot function, otherwise useless, is intended to display an A4 paper sheet on screen as big as possible. The best of the pivot monitor is using them with musical notation software (Finale, for example). When you read a full score composed by 20 staves, use the portrait mode could really make the difference.

Ok, you could buy a 30'' LCD and use it in landscape mode to display *two* pages on the screen, but this solution is exceeding my budget.

Finally, I have to choose between 4:3 and 16:10 (normal or wide). Well, my intention is display a full screen A4 sheet. If you display a 297 x 210 mm sheet (the ratio in equal to square root of 2, very roughly 1.4, on a 4:3 monitor (ratio 1.3*) in portrait mode, you will have two resulting vertical bars on both sides of the visible area. Conversely, if you display the same sheet on a widescreen monitor (e.g. 1680 x 1050, with a ratio equal to 1,6**), the resulting bars will be horizontal, where the mainstream OSes (Windows of all kind, Mac OS X, and the most Linux flavors, including Ubuntu, the one I use) find menu, quick launch, info, task bars.

This is why I will buy a widescreen monitor, but here you will find more details.

* And, BTW, periodical numbers have always turned me mad.

** This time is exactly 1,6 or to use a more familiar language 16:10

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10 maggio 2007


This poetry by Bertolt Brecht is missing from the Net. Tells about war, and it's worth reading [in German, English and Italian].

Eines schönen Tages befahlen uns unsere Obern
Die kleine Stadt Danzig für sie zu erobern.
Wir sind mit Tanks und Bombern in Polen eingebrochen
Wir eroberten es in drei Wochen.
Gott bewahr uns.

Eines schönen Tages befahlen uns unsere Obern
Norwegen und Frankreich für sie zu erobern
Wir sind in Norwegen und Frankreich eingebrochen
Wir haben alles erobert im zweiten Jahr in fünf Wochen.
Gott bewahr uns.

Eines schönen Tages befahlen uns unsere Obern
Serbien, Griechenland und Russland für sie zu erobern
Wir sind in Serbien, Griechenland und Russland eingefahren
Und kämpfen jetzt um unser nacktes Leben seit zwei langen Jahren.
Gott bewahr uns.

Eines schönen Tages befehlen uns noch unsere Obern
Den Boden der Tiefsee und die Gebirge des Mondes zu erobern
Und es ist schwer schon hier in diesem Russland
Und der Feind stark und der Winter kalt und der Heimweg unbekannt.
Gott bewahr uns und führ uns wieder nach Haus.

A beautiful day our leaders commanded us
To conquer for their sake the little city of Danzig
We broke in Poland with Tanks and Bombers
We conquer it in three week.
May God save us.

A beautiful day our leaders commanded us
To conquer for their sake Norway and French
We broke in Norway and Franch
We conquer them during the second year in five week.
May God save us.

A beautiful day our leaders commanded us
To conquer for their sake Serbia, Greece and Russia
We did go in Serbia, Greece and Russia
And now we battle for our bare lives since two long years.
May God save us.

A beautiful day our leaders will command us
To conquer the bottom of the oceans and the mountains of the Moon
And it's hard yet here in this Russia
And the enemy strong and the winter cold and the way to home unknown.
May God save us and lead us to home.

Un bel giorno i nostri comandanti ci imposero
Di conquistare per loro la piccola città di Danzica.
Noi facemmo irruzione in Polonia con carriarmati e bombardieri
La conquistammo in tre settimane.
Dio ce ne scampi.

Un bel giorno i nostri comandanti ci imposero
Di conquistare per loro Norvegia e Francia.
Facemmo irruzione in Norvegia e in Francia
Le conquistammo tutte durante il secondo anno in cinque settimane.
Dio ce ne scampi.

Un bel giorno i nostri comandanti ci imposero
Di conquistare per loro Serbia, Grecia e Russia
Noi andammo in Serbia, in Grecia ed in Russia
Ed ora combattiamo per la nostra nuda vita da due lunghi anni.
Dio ce ne scampi.

Un bel giorno i nostri comandanti ci imporranno
Di conquistare il fondo degli oceani e i monti della Luna
Ed è già duro qui in questa Russia
E il nemico implacabile e l'inverno gelido e non sapere la strada per tornare a casa.
Dio ce ne scampi e ci riporti a casa.

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25 aprile 2007

Scott McCloud online free comic

You will find at the following link a comic book by Scott McCloud (the author of Understanding Comics), readable through a very fancy Flash application.

The title is "The Right Number", and is free (found via BoingBoing).

The Right Number

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23 aprile 2007

Firmate la petizione

Questo messaggio è per tutti i cittadini europei: firmate la petizione per introdurre tre emendamenti ad IPRED2, una proposta di legge fatta a livello comunitario per criminalizzare tutte le violazioni di copyright e tutte le contraffazioni che verrà votata mercoledì 25 Aprile 2007.

I tre emendamenti hanno lo scopo di:

  • LIMITARE il campo di applicazione di IPRED2 alle imprese criminose, che prevedono pirateria e violazione di marchi registrati su scala commerciale, con dolo e a scopo di lucro, anziché criminalizzare tutte le violazioni di proprietà intellettuale come prevederebbe l'attuale direttiva.
  • EVITARE di creare uno stato di criminalizzabilità (senza precedenti) per gli organismi intermediari su Internet, provider, fornitori di software ivi compresa una serie di attività legittime, togliendo le parole "aiutando o assistendo e incitando" [aiding or abetting and inciting] dall'articolo 3.
  • FORNIRE DELLE CERTEZZE LEGALI adottando precise ed appropriate definizioni di "su scala commerciale" e "violazione intenzionale" nell'articolo 2, in modo che si intenda con questo le attività commerciali fatte a fine di ottenere lucro che si possa direttamente attribuire all'attività di violazione.

Fondamentalmente avete quattro possibilità:

1) Firmare a "scatola chiusa"

2) Informarvi qui e qui, poi firmare

3) Informarvi e poi decidere di non firmare

4) Sbattervene le palle e non firmare

Preferirei se sceglieste la 2), in mancanza di tempo la 1), se scegliete la 3) fatemi sapere nei commenti perché non avete firmato, e se scegliete la 4) siete delle bestie, e non so proprio che cosa vi spinga a leggere questo blog.

Firma qui

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21 aprile 2007

Flat Daddies

Coming back from Guy's Blog, I bring this unbelievable thing: Flat Daddies are full-size printed posters of parents who are serving overseas in the military (cited from their website). Really. They use a padded full-size print of the Dad instead of the real one: dining, traveling, sleeping.

Don't laugh. At first I found it ridiculous, then I remembered Vonnegut's words: "...that no one is bad, disgusting, or ridiculous".

And, really, there's nothing to laughing about.

Here you will find an article of a Flat Daddy tester. Her experience is not so bright, but for many other should be quite a relief, based on the success of the idea.

I encourage you to read the original. Let me know in the comment if you would like to read the linked article translated in Italian.

Flat Daddies | free life-size posters of your hero

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16 aprile 2007

Modern Mechanix

The picture above shows a device that traps who (unfortunately) rings the fire alarm. Sure it will reduce the alarm pranksters, expecially because only a policeman or a fireman can free the (barbequed) hand.

I just want you to notice Modern Mechanics, a site full of "wonders" from the past.

Modern Mechanix » Fire Box Traps Pranksters

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Optical illusion

I am an avid reader of pointless and unuseful things. In this group fall definitely optical illusions. I like them very much, and I wonder how after almost two (pointless) years of blogging I never linked one.

So, look below at the magic picture, and look again when you are at least 8 steps away from your monitor (I tried as far as three meters and it worked flawlessly).

The two faces seem to swap themselves. In the comments of the link you will find an explanation.

Blogger Whale||freestyle blogging: Don't trust your eyes!

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14 aprile 2007

Kurt is up in heaven now.

Kurt Vonnegut (american despite the german name) is dead, and this may be a good day to begin reading his books.

I recently read Slaughterhouse 5 (in Italian: "Mattatoio n° 5"). I learnt a new way to think about war. I learnt a new way to think about death.

Farewell, Kurt.

Kurt Vonnegut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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05 aprile 2007

A personality test (sorry, Mac only)

Mac OS X 10.4, codename Tiger (I know the ladies love it), comes equipped with two games: Marble Blast Gold and Nanosaur II: Hatchling.

The first is one of the most addictive and brain-tickling videogames I ever played; stages are usually short as two minutes, nevertheless you will spend hours (days?) with the little rolling marble. The learning curve is simply right, not too hard nor boring, and the Gold Time limit is challenging even for hardcore gamers. In a word, a Masterpiece.

The second isn't the worst videogames I ever played, but sure is in the bottom 3. I need to rephrase it: it would be one of the worst 3 games I ever played. Nanosaur II isn't a game: is a personality test. Do you know someone who spent more than 10 minutes (globally) on it? Well, maybe you should seeing him/her less. Is boring, is useless, and is a misuse of graphical effects (which are indeed very good). A little too graphical to seem a personality test, but well, today the style is overcoming the substance.

Your daughter wants to date a Mac owner: ask him how much time does he spend on Nanosaur II, and if is more than 10 minutes (in all his life), be warned: something is wrong in him:

i. His QI

ii. He cannot tell videogames and personality tests apart

iii. He parks like an a*****e

iv. All of the above.


Pangea Software: Nanosaur 2 Home Page

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02 aprile 2007

Music score search engine collection

In my website you can find a collection of *free* music sheet sites. IMHO there are basically two type of scores: one, easy to find and cheap (so cheap that often is less expensive than xeroxing, i.e. Dover or Könemann), the other, hard to find and as expensive as white truffle (i.e. Salabert and other french edition).

Well, if you are searching for a score of the first type, is very likely you will find it using one of the suggested links (YMMV).

Please, write me to suggest free scores sites that I didn't mention.

In another post I will describe my experience buying music sheet online.

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20 marzo 2007

Linux Advert

Don't miss the Ali's tagline at the end. (links in the italian translation).

"Speak your mind. Don't back down."

Transcript of IBM ad:

Open on young boy sitting in chair, camera pans overhead.
Male Voice: I think you should see this.
Female Voice: It's just a kid.
Rock Guy: This is a G cord. (Strums his guitar)
Male Voice: He's learning. Absorbing. He's getting smarter every day.
Anthropologist: Homo habilis was the first to use tools.
Coach Wooden: A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that's teamwork.
Male Voice: It's happening fast.
Astrologer: We've always watched the stars. If you look at the sky, you can see the beginning of time.
Cut to soccer player bouncing ball on knee in front of boy.
Mr. Gates: Collecting data is only the first step toward wisdom. But sharing data is the first step toward community.
Poet: Poetry. There's not much glory in poetry, only achievement.
Voice: Knowledge amplification. What he learns, we all learn. What he knows, we all benefit from.
Ms. Nasar: One little thing can solve an incredibly complex problem.
Ms. Marshall: Everything's about timing kid.
Businessman: This is business. Faster. Better. Cheaper. Constant improvement.
Pilot: So, you wanna fly, huh? Wind speed, thrust, it's physics.
Latin Teacher: Res publica non dominetur.
Plumber: Plumbing, it's all about the tools.
Ali: Speak your mind. Don't back down.
Female Voice: Does he have a name?
Male Voice: His name is Linux.

Sceneggiatura della pubblicità IBM per Linux:

Apre su un ragazzo seduto su una sedia, la telecamera allarga sopra la sua testa.
Voce maschile: penso che dovresti vederlo.
Voce femminile: è solo un ragazzo.
Rocker: Questo è un Sol maggiore. (Esegue l'accordo sulla chitarra)
Voce maschile: sta imparando. Assorbendo. Diventa ogni giorno più intelligente.
Antropologo: l'Homo Habilis fu il primo ad usare utensili.
Allenatore John R. Wooden: un giocatore che rende grande una squadra val di più di un grande giocatore. Perdersi nel gruppo, per il bene del gruppo, questo è gioco di squadra.
Voce maschile: sta succedendo in fretta.
Astronomo: Abbiamo sempre guardato le stelle. Se guardi il cielo, puoi vedere l'inizio del tempo.
Inquadratura di un calciatore che fa rimbalzare la palla sulle ginocchia davanti al ragazzo.
Prof. Gates: raccogliere dati è solo il primo passo verso la saggezza. Ma condividere i dati è il primo passo verso la comunità.
Poeta: la poesia. Non c'è molta gloria nella poesia, solo il risultato.
Voce: amplificazione della conoscenza. Quello che impara, lo impariamo tutti. Di quello che sa, tutti quanti ne traiamo beneficio.
Sylvia Nasar: una piccola cosa può risolvere un problema incredibilmente complesso.
Penny Marshall: è tutta una questione di tempismo, giovane.
Uomo d'affari: Questo è il business. Più in fretta. Meglio. A minor costo. Miglioramento costante.
Pilota: e quindi vuoi volare, eh? Velocità del vento, spinta, è fisica.
Insegnante di Latino: Res Publica non dominetur (la cosa pubblica non sarà dominata da nessuno...)
Idraulico: le tubature, è tutta una questione di attrezzi.
Ali: dì la tua. Non tirarti indietro.
Voce femminile: come si chiama?
Voce maschile: il suo nome è Linux.

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13 marzo 2007

Breathtaking eclipse

Yes, the big one is the Sun, and the small black spot is the moon. You make me feel, by weight:

  • Oxygen 65%
  • Carbon 18%
  • Hydrogen 10%
  • Nitrogen 3%
  • Calcium 1.5%
  • Phosphorous 1.0%
  • Potassium 0.35%
  • Sulfur 0.25%
  • Sodium 0.15%
  • Chlorine 0.15%
  • Magnesium 0.05%
  • Iron 0.0004%
  • Iodine 0.00004%
Boing Boing: Solar eclipse viewed from spacecraft

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How many elements should have a list?

5 is good, 10 is better, 15 is bad, 20 is worst.

I don't want to read "52 ways to improve your piano playing" because if I spend the same time practicing my piano playing will improve far more than reading a lousy list ever could. I'd prefer read "5 ways to improve your piano playing", despite the semplicity. I don't want to read "52 ways to reduce stress", because your list (longer than Deuteronomy) is stressful.

You can't separate the top 5 arguments about a theme? Obviously you don't know enough about that specific argument. A Lifehacker post tells about 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper and Better: the author should choose the top 5 or the top 10, I will read it, and then I will decide if is worth reading the remaining 70.

Lists are the mainstream for blog posts: Guy Kawasaki advice you to use them to hook your audience. He is one of the best list-maker: often he puts 12 question in a "10 questions with..." interview, knowing that if you have the guts to reach the tenth question, you wouldn't mind to read two more.

"Perhaps the best test of a man's intelligence is his capacity for making a summary".

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05 marzo 2007

Verify your source, please.

Internet is becoming every passing day more similar to TV: everyone yells the last breaking news without verify the source.

Last case: Vista brute-force cracking tool. Almost every tech site gave the news and almost every site retreated their declarations after two-three days.

Please, verify your sources: if you are an editor of a tech site, then you have a Vista Iso, and you can download the tool (don't ask me how, or I will steal your job) and try it by yourself. You have a chance to write a far better article if you find out it isn't working. At least you could write a nice howto.

But please: verify your source.

Vista hack is about as useful as a useless thing

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24 febbraio 2007

Iron(ing) man

Is nice sometime engage in activities unpracticed for years: it's similar to meet a distant friend. Yesterday I performed a Strawinsky Mass which I haven't sung since 1991. Today I have done some ironing (roughly 30 years since last time).

After 2 minutes: I wish my housemaid was here.

After 4 minutes: housemaid? Maybe I should refer her as my "Domestic Advisor".

After 6 minutes: in a shirt, just the front, neck and wrists are important.

After 8 minutes: in a shirt, just the front, neck and wrists are important.

After 10 minutes: in a shirt, just the front, neck and wrists are is important.

...f****ing shirt.

Beware cotton stretch: wonderful to wear, horrible to iron.

The Genuine - Ironing a Shirt

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14 febbraio 2007

Why you should be learning German language.

German is an agglutinative language. For example, Perlentränentröpfchen means "teardrops like pearls" (english also is somewhat an agglutinative language indeed). Torschlusspanik is "panic caused by closing doors"; used mainly to describe the situation of a childless aging woman searching for an heir, could be applied to everyone who feels like losing opportunities year after year.

No surprise German generated so much poetry.

Agglutinative language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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12 febbraio 2007

Why you should buy a Nikon camera.

Twenty days ago, my Nikon Coolpix S3 was ill. The sturdy camera survived several falls and lived through the less-then-respectful-for-technology hand of my wife. Suddenly (and unrelated to what happened in its brief live) didn't read or write SD card anymore. Nada. Nothing. Kaputt. I tried reading some useless newsgroup in which the most intelligent post was "Do you have formatted your card?".

Yes, thanks, I formatted it using the camera (unbelievebly formatting worked, but no read/write again), using a card reader from my Mac, from my PC. With the first snapshot, it tried to write down to card, but not to avail.

Fortunately, a kindly photo store in the city I live (see image) took my camera and gave it me back (repaired!) after just 2 weeks, without charge, althought I wasn't able to show my buying proof. I suspect Nikon have a free repair policy for all products within two years of life (according to EU warranty laws), at least in Europe. This is why my next camera will be a Nikon.

Nikon Global Gateway

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Yesterday I tried successfully the linked recipe by Mr. Grasshopper (italian): baked tuna is wonderful, even if a little difficult for my stomach to process. A chardonnay from Calabria helped me to keep untouched my rep.

But the point is: why I have a preference for bloggers recipes? The answer is easy: in case of failure, I have someone to blame (literally: send someone to wanking - mandarlo a fare le pugnette).

Good work, Mr. G.

Mr.Grasshopper: Tonno al forno con patate

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07 febbraio 2007

So it goes

Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden,

so scheide nicht von mir;

wenn ich den Tod soll leiden,

so tritt du dann herfür;

wenn mir am allerbängsten

wird um das Herze sein,

so reiß mich aus den Ängsten

kraft deiner Angst und Pein.

Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden

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30 gennaio 2007

New comment policy

Following the never boring suggestions of Guy, I decided to change the comment policy for this blog. No more moderation (yes, that means what you write will be added immediately to the site - althought I retain some deleting permissions). And again, no CAPTCHA, no hassles, nothing.

Seguendo i consigli mai scontati di Guy, ho deciso di cambiare le regole per inserire commenti su questo blog. I commenti non verranno più moderati (sì, vuol dire che quello che scrivete finisce direttamente online - anche se ho ancora la facoltà di cancellare). In più, niente CAPTCHA, niente scocciature, niente di niente.

25 gennaio 2007

Mi secca dovermene andare

Dal blog di Don:

In questi giorni, anche se cerco di rimandare tutte le decisioni all'ultimo, devo ammettere che mi scoccia fare un po' tutto. Per esempio, scrivere mi scoccia, perché devo stare attento ad essere leggibile, anche nei riguardi di me stesso. Sono ormai abbastanza sicuro di avere avuto un ictus (la diagnosi medica finale è ancora in sospeso); uno piccolo, suppongo, dato che guido ancora poche settimane dopo il mio 93esimo compleanno. A quest'età, devo ammettere che ci provo gusto nel vedere lo stupore della gente quando dico quanti anni ho. Ma sotto tutto c'è la consapevolezza che sono il maschio che ha vissuto più a lungo di entrambi i rami della mia famiglia, materno e paterno, e che me ne dovrò andare abbastanza presto. Semplicemente non mi piace l'idea.

Ho galleggiato sul classico "Stato lì, fatto questo" per un po' di tempo, ma la nozione che si avvicina il momento in cui non potrò più dirlo mi secca. La verità è che non me ne voglio andare.

Ci sono molte ragioni. Per un sacco di tempo mi sono comportato come se potessi posporre tutto indefinitamente, e così ho un mucchio di cose che devo fare subito. Non voglio che i miei successori scoprano quante cose avrei potuto fare e non ho fatto, almeno per un bel po'. Ci sono tante note e lettere che devo scrivere. Ci sono posti che avrei voluto visitare, ma non ne ho mai avuto l'occasione. In realtà, ciascuno di voi potrebbe, se pensasse per un attimo di avere la mia età, stilare la lista. Almeno potrebbe provare a capire perché dico che odio andarmene.

Don To Earth: It Bothers Me That I Have To Go

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21 gennaio 2007

Tenebrae factae sunt

One of the composers I admire at most is Tomas Luis de Victoria. His responsoria are masterpieces. I had to do it: I hope your ears will forgive me.

Download Tenebrae Factae Sunt

Tenebrae factae sunt (Tenebrae responsory No. 8) (Tomás Luis de Victoria) - ChoralWiki

20 gennaio 2007

In Italy is not illegal download and store copyrighted material?

The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation stated it's not illegal downloading copyrighted files, if you don't use them for money. Two Turin students won the trial: is not wrong "spare" on the films' tag price, even if police found copy protection removing software on their computers.

Update: this sentence refers to facts happened before the "decreto Urbani", which introduces the concept of profit (better, the loss of) in copyright issues. And in case you're wondering: yes, file sharing and downloading in Italy is still illegal.

Cassazione: lecito scaricare file protetti basta non usarli a scopo di lucro - cronaca -

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Quotes from Wonderful Graffiti

Quotes from Wonderful Graffiti

If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough. –Mario Andretti

Se tutto sembra sotto controllo, semplicemente non stai andando abbastanza forte.

Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go.

Sii orgoglioso di quanta strada hai fatto. Abbi fede in quanta ne farai.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. –Virginia Woolf

Non si può pensare bene, amare bene, dormire bene, se non si mangia bene.

Approach love and cooking with equal abandon. –The Dalai Lama

Ama e cucina col medesimo abbandono.

You're stronger than you seem; Braver than you believe; And smarter than you think you are. (A.A. Milne)

Sei più forte di quanto sembra; più coraggioso di quanto credi; e più furbo di quanto pensi. (E sì, è l'autore di Winnie the Pooh)

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15 gennaio 2007

Surveillance Cams

Italiano: leggete (o guardatevi) V for Vendetta, poi leggete l'articolo di Punto Informatico del link sottostante.

English: read V for Vendetta, then read below:

Someone is opposing to city cams!

Incredible: successful in UK and in Italy, but their diffusion in the States may be more difficult. Because someone do protest and speaks about crushed rights. Exaggeration from the usual four hot heads. (The beginning is cleary ironic: PI is against every form of censorship).

Roma - New Orleans is one of the cities in the States with the higher number of cam installation across the streets, mainly managed by police. And several other cities have some webcam. But the surveillance cam initiative, a long time established fact in UK and in Italy, clashes with a growing opposition.

As such may be incredible - since surveillance cam diffusion usually is very popular - Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU decided to battle against the surveillance across some San Francisco blocks.

Both associations, two of the most important civil rights' defense associations in the States, oppose to a project, as stated by San Francisco Chronicle, which is based on installation of 25 new surveillance cams in the residential blocks of the city, during the next 18 months. Every one of those cams will cost something between $ 4000 and 7000, and in the major's opinion, cams will be a deterrent against crime and against drug dealers. Meanwhile, they will provide and important monitoring service to increase people security.

EFF, ACLU, and National Lawyers Guild are trying to build up protests from citizens against the installations. The net grapevine gives some hope: Indymedia San Francisco publish a petition to gather people for the next wednesday meeting with the city authorities, and explains clearly why this kind of surveillance cams are dangerous:

"Video surveillance poses a significant threat to privacy and free speech by allowing the government to track what you are doing and where you are going. Surveillance cameras also impact free speech by chilling protected political and religious expression. The prospect of government surveillance may deter individuals expressing unpopular views from attending demonstrations and speaking out on controversial issues."

Back in 2003, the former italian authority for the privacy, Stefano Rodotà, affirmed with the usual precision: "This unstoppable publication of private spaces, this perennial exposition to unknown and undesidered eyes, actually change individual and social behavior. To be aware of the control causes people to behave less spontaneously and reduces freedom."

"Shrinking control-free spaces one may be forced to remain at home, defending ferociously this last private space, even if more and more unprotected from surveillance techniques more efficient every day. But if liberty and spontaneity will be coherced in our private spaces, we will consider far and hostile everything exists in the outer world. This may be father to new conflicts, and therefore a radically and permanent insecurity, which in facts destroys the stronger argument in favor of surveillance, whose primary end is to produce security".

PI: Qualcuno si oppone alle cam in città!

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13 gennaio 2007

HD DVD vs. Blu Ray

The truceless war between HD DVD and Blu Ray has a new element to think about.

Adult film industry embracing HD DVD

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Very bad song

This evening I was outside for shopping. Radio was broadcasting "Angelica", a song by an italian group, "Le Vibrazioni".

Simply: "Angelica" is awful. It isn't "not very good", is quite horrible. Senseless words, disturbing music: a nightmare.

Questa sera ero fuori per acquisti. La radio trasmetteva "Angelica", una canzone di un gruppo italiano, "Le Vibrazioni".

Semplice: "Angelica" fa schifo. Non è solo "non un gran che", è proprio orribile. Parole senza senso, musica fastidiosa: un incubo.

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Orfeo ed Euridice

"Orfeo ed Euridice" by Gluck (performance 1 of 10 in 5 different cities) was performed this evening in the Ravenna Theatre, "Dante Alighieri".

1% of inspiration and 99% perspiration allowed me to partecipate preparing this event. I will be in Pisa next february for the last two performances.

Going to the opera (and a fortiori performing) is emotionally moving. In this opera I enjoyed expecially the direction by Graham Vick. I am pretty sure that tomorrow the newspaper will praise the modern and stylish direction, the dancing chorus and the very dynamic scenes. People like sweat, and I can assure you this evening their craving was satisfied.

But IMHO, the cream is in the less dynamic scenes; let me tell some examples:

Act 1 (ending): Orpheus lost Eurydice for the first time. A mourning chorus left slowly the scene, when someone tries to take away the tumbled chair near Orpheus (we've seen dead Eurydice before laying in this chair). A distressed Orpheus grabs the chair, and the other left shaking his head in misery (thanks, Sergio: yes, it does works great).

Act 2 (hell): as stated by the director, the tableau brings life from the Sartre idea: "L'enfer est les autres". Hell is others.

a) An actress tries to put three chairs in a row, and another actress ruins the order every time the work of the first one is almost done. You feel the anxiety, and the sense of unfulfillment.

b) An actor reads the newspaper in a very rude manner on a sofa, while an actress pushes him not gently at all to swap tv channels with a remote.

c) An actress pretends to be sick, and another one pretends to take care of her. When the nurse tries to left the bed, the other suddenly catches her ("Misery").

Not enough hell? You deserve demons and forks.

The music is a masterpiece. The libretto is not so good, but in the 18th century was impossible to write a libretto without happy ending. Yes, Orpheus looks at Eurydice and lost her... forever? No, because Love settles everything, and they lived happily ever after.

I do prefer much more the sad version, in which Orpheus losts Eurydice forever.

Teatro di tradizione Dante Alighieri - GLI SPETTACOLI

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03 gennaio 2007

EU video format petition

English: read the post from BoingBoing, then sign the petition.

Italiano: le assemblee del Consiglio dell'Unione Europea sono trasmesse su internet in streaming. Peccato che siano in formato proprietario (= soldi nostri che finiscono in tasca a Microsoft e/o alla Apple, nessuna delle quali è un'azienda europea...). Alternative ce ne sono, ma questi rispondono che non "possono" sostenere legalmente Linux, per cui Linux non è supportato. Le soluzioni open source sono compatibili anche con Windows e Mac. Perché non risparmiare accontentando tutti? C'è qualcuno che si mette in tasca i soldini di zio Bill o di zio Steve? O semplicemente è un modo gratuito e inopportuno di gestire le minoranze trasversali?

Firmate la petizione.

Petition Spot - Platform independent solution to watch "Streaming Service of the Council of the European Union."

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01 gennaio 2007

Years and landings

Years are very similar to landings: every one you survive aren't quite so bad.

But I haven't liked very much the last year, so I am glad it isn't on my guts anymore.

Welcome 2007.

2006 - Wikipedia

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How many batteries does it takes...

Stumbled upon the linked article via digg. You have to see to believe it. 6 x AAAA batteries = 1 x 9V.

Holiday is when you have too much time on your hands. Happy new year.

Triple "A" Battery Hack

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