Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in September, 2003

Must have been that bug I picked up in Paris. After several days of running around and feeling too tired in the evenings to post anything here – or anywhere, for that matter – I finally found time and energy to write something new. It’s a new installment in the Interesting Times series, and I hope to post the English translation later tonight. Meanwhile, the Portuguese version can be read here.

Update: Here’s the English version. I can’t resist quoting this little bit of dialog:

(Embratel was the government’s telecomm monopoly)

(sometime in 1992, trying to lease an Internet connection)

Me: “I want an Internet connection.”

Embratel Salesman: “OK. I suggest a 2400 or 9600 link, the price will be X cents per packet. That’s 20% of what it costs to send a TELEX. Isn’t that revolutionary?”

Me: “A packet means how many Kbytes?”

Embratel Salesman: “What? It’s 64 bytes per packet!”

Me: “And if a user decides to download a larger file, say, 500 Kbytes? It’ll cost hundreds of dollars!”

Embratel Salesman: “Don’t worry, that will never happen!”

First Anniversary!

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Forgot to check, but just now I did… my first post on this weblog is now just over one year old! ❗

It certainly was an eventful year for me and posting here more or less regularly has helped my English no end, generated favorable publicity for my products, and made me several new friends. Thanks to all of you who keep on reading…

Software Patents

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While running madly about to get back to where I was before the last trip (perhaps I should even say the last three trips) I chanced upon Tim Bray’s comments on software patents. This is certainly the best article on the subject to come along for years. Highly recommended.

A cynic would say it’s a self-perpetuating system whose costs greatly outweigh its benefits, and that we’re hopelessly stuck in it. But then, I’m a cynic.

Re: Paris!

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I’m back.

Actually I’ve returned from Paris a few days ago, extremely tired and jet-lagged (not to speak of some virus I picked up at the Expo) and my wife promptly whisked me away for a weekend in the interior: the nice little town of Lavras Novas near Ouro Preto. No net access, lots of sleep and fresh air, excellent food, good music and nice people.

I’m still not up to speed, but getting there slowly. Together, we shot over 900 photos of Paris, though comparatively little of the Expo. I’ve done an initial check of the photos today and some may be publishable.

On our last night in Paris, I met Nick Taliesin Barrett and we had an extremely pleasant dinner at a créperie he recommended. I gave him some issues of Macmania magazine, and he posted some very flattering comments a few days later. Thanks, Nick…

Re: Paris!

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Posted by Rainer Brockerhoff (away):
The past two days were quite exhausting, and today doesn’t promise any letup… this tourism thing isn’t as easy as it looks. Between our delegation of four we’ve took a little less than 800 pictures so far…

Steve Jobs’ keynote was short as such things usually go. it’s exhaustively covered on the news sites, so I won’t repeat anything here.

I gave in to temptation and bought one of the new 40GB iPods. Preliminary tests are very positive; the only bug I’ve been able to find so far it that it seems impossible to have your home folder on the iPod, unless you boot from it. Let’s see if that is fixed in Panther.

More later in the day, if possible… we ‘re leaving tomorrow morning. I’ll try to write up some general comments on the Expo and Paris at home over the weekend.


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Posted by Rainer Brockerhoff (away):
Live from Paris, rather to my own surprise.

I should have arrived today instead of Friday, but circumstances conspired to make us skip Amsterdam completely. Not only were there no hotels available within 100 Kms. of the city, but my companions neglected to mention our Amsterdam stopover to the lady at the KLM counter; as their luggage was going to go to Paris directly anyway, we decided to go with it.

Fortunately our hotel had rooms available and we took the opportunity to see Paris. I’d been here previously in 1995, but two of my companions were new to the city. So yesterday we had a day-long walk from the Île de la Cité to the Tour Eiffel. Today we spent some time in the Louvre and then I walked to the Place de la Republique, where I’m posting this.

Internet Cafés are not very common in Paris, although people tell me more are opening; we also saw some signs advertising WiFi hotspots, although it wasn’t clear whether access was free or not.

I’m typing (or rather, hunting and pecking) this on a venerable Pentium II, running Windows 98, with a French AZERTY keyboard. Grrh. I had less trouble in Budapest and Prague; only the centermost keys are at the usuql plqce (oops, “usual place”). The ambience is rather unusual… the place seems to cater mostly to Asian youths intent on playing net games and/or downloading p0rn. Cables are strewn all over the place and there is no sign advertising its presence; I walked past it twice, in fact, until a helpful pedestrian set me straight.

Fortunately, on Tuesday the Apple Expo starts with the anxiously expected Stevenote (sorry, typing URLs is too exhausting with this keyboard) and I hope to able to use my Airport-equipped iBook inside the Press center. So expect more detailed updates in a couple of days. Au bientôt…


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A long, involved, and rather funny post about all glitches that happened to me while packing for the trip was completely wiped out… by a glitch with my new Firewire backup drive.

Hmpfh. (Or should that be “hmphf”? Whatever).

Anyway, I’m off to the Airport. One of my fellow travelers is taking an iBook, so I should be able to post again soon. News at 11.

Re: Who’s on first…

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icon_cry.gif Only a few days after I linked (again) to the J-Walk Blog, John Walkenbach writes today that he’s shutting it down:

It’s been a fun and interesting ride. I’ve been doing this for about 11 months. I was hoping to keep it going for a full year, but it didn’t work out. Yesterday, I was mowing the lawn and decided to call it quits. No real reason. I think it’s just time to move on to something else (but I have no idea what that something else is)…

Well, hopefully he’ll decide to come back sometime in the future. Have fun, John…

Update: he’s back. Whew.

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