Web


My brain is still trying to process it. I’ve read around 20 articles on the subject, with different opinions and still can’t make my own.
The webcast portraying the event is available at novell’s website.

The thing is this: through god-knows-what legal resources MS and SUsE staff had made open source and proprietary patents somehow compatible. Of course this will go under serious scrutiny over the next months and some issues might rise, but the unthinkable has happened.

If Microsoft weren’t Microsoft I’d gladly say a huge step towards common sense has been made. That the OS and computer industries will benefit largely form this, that it was a bold and intelligent move. But Microsoft has it’s large personal record in taking advantage of such deals, whilst their counterparts loose enormously. The Apple Computer Inc. vs. Microsoft Corp. case comes to mind immediately.

Please list me on the sceptics list for this one.

To further support my scepticism while researching for this entry I came across an interesting entry on MS’s web, dated November 3rd, with a very subtle title: Migrate from Novell.

We have only seen the tip of the iceberg here, but something already smells fishy…

PS: Ubuntu is starting to look very interesting as a replacement for my SUsE 9.3…

Related Articles all around the web:

Le monde a very well known and global French newspaper is moving it’s blog engine to WordPress. You can already read about this in tons of places:

http://scobleizer.com/2006/10/30/wordpress-wins-big-le-mondefr-account/
http://toni.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/le-monde-moves-to-wordpress/

So I wont extend too much on the huge success this suposes to WordPress and open source.

What I find most interesting is the current newspapers’ tendency  to open up and become more “interactive”. What’s actually surprising is how long it took them to do so.

Mass media has a pretty interesting vice, they love the sound of their own voice; but are not too fond about listening to others. Something quite ironic if you ask me, since they are supposed to be the “reflection of reality”.

I wonder how long it will take until we start hearing about censorship of some kind.

I had a good friend of mine to dinner last Sunday. We met at university, while I studied Music he was studying social communication, it is to him I owe having read some Kant and Heidegger. I guess it was time for me to pay back.

He currently works for the Argentine Airport Authority (Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria) searching for it’s public perception, terrorist news, smuggling and everything that might be of interest. I felt compelled to ask how he achieved this.

So, he tells me: I usually go to major newspapers pages and start reading around.

Panic.

Shock.

WHAT?

I had to ask if he had ever heard of data feeds. Luckily for me he had; this made the following rant easier for me. I brought the ThinkPad to the table and started to show him around sites like technorati and the like. I helped him to set up various searches and feeds into google’s personalized homepage (http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en) so he can access all of them from anywhere (he told me they switch computers at his workplace). Now he has some nice tabs set up there with all the usual searches and headlines from major newspapers in them.

He told me it was a major time saver, around 1 or 2 hours / day, and it only took me one hour to show him the “tricks”.

I can’t say I’m surprised that a government agency doesen’t train it’s people in such fashion.  But I have seen similar things on the private sector as well. I think I might start some tips & tricks blog in this regard some time.

I can’t help but wonder what new technologies I’m missing out that could save me some time every day.

Suggestions?

Public support and help forums have been around for quite some time. Based on the concept that two heads think better than one and that 1000 are even smarter, lots of open source or low profit organizations have relied on forums as their primary support source. The obvious advantage to this is: its cheap. But there are others and plenty of other advantages.

First there’s the advantage of looking at problems from different (countless) perspectives. Some issues have a unique solution, others might have multiple ways to be solved. People might come up with solutions that even designers or creators didn’t think about.

Then there’s feedback. You can post a question and you’ll get replies (or direction to previous replies to the same subject) really quickly (if you have a broad enough user  base).

Another positive aspect is that it could be a really good source for  inspiration and ideas for improvements. You could hear from the “source” what things don’t work as expected, what things might need changes or adjustments and what things users want to see coming out (as a matter of fact I’ve read quite some posts asking for the next generation of ThinkPad tablets, just to quote an example). Then it’d be up to decision makers to evaluate if what they’ve learnt is where they want to go.

Finally, if all the data is well ordered, moderated and recollected it could eventually build up a knowledge base, the source of FAQ and answers for call centers and eventually cut (in part) support centers. If you find good answers on a website-forum you won’t ever dial that 1-800 number.

So here’s the deal. I’ll talk about what I know. In Latina America we have a clear prominence of Spanish speaking countries. From Mexico to Argentina Spanish is a common place, to a certain extent. But some terms and the utilization of the language differs quite a lot. In Colombia, for example, they speak a lot more “formally” than in Perú.

A Basic SEO example can be pulled by looking for search terms in different countries. In this case I’ll use google Labs’ Google trends.

We’ll compare Mexico and Argentina on 3 terms “PC” (blue), “Computadora” (red) and “Ordenador” (orange):

Mexico:
Mexico Search terms

Argentina:
Argentina Search terms
As it can easily be deducted “PC” is a far more popular term than “Computadora” in Argentina, while in Mexico “PC” is still number 1, but “Computadora” is very popular as well. “Ordenador”, only appears (slightly) in Mexico. These are slight but important differences.

Thus SEO for countries speaking the same countries should not be the same. Although, in LA “neutral spanish” is used (is a use of spanish that is from everywhere and nowhere at the same time) some words should be localized in order to make it more appealing both to readers and to search engine crawlers.

If language use differs in not so distant countries picture what the cultural differences are from north to south, east to west, continent to continent.
Now we’re getting to the interesting part. How can coroporate branding and identity be broad enough to appeal to every culture? Is this possible without being “bland” or “shallow”? It is possible. But it takes luck, inspiration or genius. Either that or your “corporate image” must be flexible enough to allow some localized content.

So you have a two way road. If you have a strong “trans-cultural” image you should stick to it (apple comes to mind, and even they have changed it over time -evolution- and have a broad spectrum of possible look and feels to choose from, with a “scent” to apple). The other road is to have a more flexible approach, allowing certain regionalization to appeal to the broader public.

I’d rather have a strong corporate identity, but if I ain’t got that, I’d settle with option number two.

Just a random thought while looking around blogs and stuff.

How about a semi-official site from Lenovo with support for Linux users only? Would this “disturb” Microsoft?

The more I look around the web the more evident it seems that ThinkPads are the weapons of choice of Linux users around the globe.  This way it seems rather logical to provide some special support for them.

It sure would be a sort of bold move, and it would require quite some support from the Linux community (both from developers and from the user base). It’d be rather interesting to see how they react and how involved they are willing to get with a computer vendor.Everybody could learn from each other; if there are no  “corporate restrictions” I’d certainly like to see it happen and I know pleanty of others would as well.

Looking at technocrati today I was amazed by the humongous number of tags and searches Steve Irwin’s death generated. Words like Steve Irwin, Death, Australia, or Crocodile Hunter are being searched by thouthands (if not millions) of people around the globe.

Even more interesting is the ammount of blogs (like this one) mentioning the Aussie crocodrile dundee redux.

I’m preaty sure he got good audiences on his TV show, but he might not imagined his death would cause  such an effect.

I guess it’s true what they say: tragedy makes great marketing. Shame on us.

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