Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Princípio do Conhecimento

Tudo aquilo que a maioria das pessoas diz está errado e mal observado e tanto mais assim é quanto essa maioria das pessoas está firmemente convicta da sua sabedoria e experiência. E quanto mais essa maioria se crê elitista e iluminada, privilegiada e multiciente - mais o seu saber é dispensável.

Conhecer é ser rebelde.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

European News

There is a new portal of news: Presseurop. It is a portal of European news and its objective is to inform about what is happening on the 27 member countries of the European Union. On their first page, there are 14 news. Of these 14 news, 4 come from German press and/or are about German affairs.

We know Germany has 82 million inhabitants and, thus, it is the most representative country of the European Union. We know that, at least as first language, German is the most important language of the Union. But if one is really concerned about what is happening in 27 different countries, it doesn't make any sense to dedicate 4 news out of 14 to a single country. Even if we accept that, in a newspaper, the focus each country is given should depend on its representativeness - and this is a very debatable criterion! - still 4 out of 14 in an universe of 27 countries is clearly overrepresentation. It is too much.

Now, of the 4 news that have more emphasis - the first 4 titles, with bigger letters - one is from Le Monde and the other is from The Guardian. Well, these newspapers are alredy read not only at their countries of origin but also internationally. People that care for foreign media most probably already read these titles (in the case of Portugal, Portuguese newspapers are basically made of copy-translate-and-pasted articles from those newspapers). Then, why give them prominence also in Presseurop? If Presseurop is about the 27 European Union countries and not only about Germany, France and United Kingdom, how come there is no news about Slovenia, no emphasis put in Hungary, nothing is said about Denmark, no line written about Bulgaria? How come there is something about Sarkozy, as if that politician didn't get already too much attention, something about German SPD and nothing is said, for instance, about the recently elected new President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė? We strongly believe the shoes of the husband of Carla Bruni are not more important nor more interesting than, say, the black belt in karate of Dalia Grybauskaitė.

We have checked Politics, Society, Economy, Science & The Environment, Culture & Ideas, Europe & The World sections and what did we find in these sections? We didn't find any news about Portugal, any news about Sweden, any news about Latvia...

The aim of Presseurop is to offer a common newspaper to the citizens of the 27 member countries. We don't believe all these people is really interested in reading almost exclusively news from and about Germany, France and England and find that a news about, say, Slovak Republic is some kind of exotic article. European Union is not a group of four or five countries that are or believe they still are very important with a bunch of merry little inconsequent sovereign nations around. This mentality is actually the opposite of what the European spirit is and should be.

Europe is either 27 and more, 27 and counting or it isn't. For now, Presseurop isn't. But let's give it time and let's hope it changes. One shouldn't forget that the European Union took also time to create, to develop and to enlarge. And, happily, it has been in the right track thus far!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Microsoft's Live Search Maps vs. Google Maps

Microsoft's Live Search Maps are definitely better than Google Maps: it includes all the microscopic streets while Google, in some cases, fails even to report the names of some not-so-small streets.

Now, Google is better in something that makes Google as good as it is and makes Microsoft as bad as it normally is: while Microsoft is based on extremely heavy applications that must be installed on the hard-drive and occupy mega-bytes of storage memory and of our patience (and sometimes it is not even possible to uninstall them!), Google is the opposite: it is based on online applications: there is no need for installation and they are light enough to be fast. You have just to consider, for instance, Gchat: it is almost as good as ICQ and requires no installation at all!

Thus, it is of no surprise that Google Maps's Street View works online with no need for their installable application (Google Earth), while the corresponding Microsoft's 3D view is not available online and requires the installation of Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D.

But Microsoft still offers online something that is really beautiful and has no correspondence in Google Maps: Microsoft offers "Bird's eyes":



At the end, the best maps provider online is Microsoft's.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Previsão Económica e Política

Se a fábrica Autoeuropa sai de Portugal, o actual Governo cai. Cai mesmo: mesmo que faltem uns poucos meses para eleições. Mesmo que a legislatura já esteja mais do que no fim (já passaram mais do que quatro anos desde as últimas eleições legislativas) - se a Autoeuropa sai, o Governo sai.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Smashing Pumpkins and The Cure

We love both bands.

Why have Smashing Pumpkins not survived even though Billy Corgan has been and still is trying to keep it alive?

Why have The Cure survived for so long and are still absolutely alive, absolutely gorgeous and beautiful, unique and always special?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Google Chrome Advertises in New York Times

I have just seen an advertisement of Google Chrome in New York Times. Ferrari doesn't advertise itself. And Google, as far as I know, have never advertised anything.

Thus, this advertisement of Google's Chrome is a good sign that this specific product might not be a Ferrari.

And that is precisely true: Google has been THE Ferrari in many things, starting with its Search Engine and Gmail, which were at the time of their creation and still are the best search engine and free email service available, being the best in each and every aspect one can think of (and, in the case of GMail, even much better than any of the typical paid email services). Starting with Google Search Engine and Gmail, continuing to its integrated chat service: it totally knocks out any Messenger type of thing and, I have "sadly" to admit (for I have always been a fan of ICQ), it totally knocks-out the Mercedes-Benz of chatting: ICQ.

From Gmail, to Gchat, to Google Earth, to the acquisition of Blogger and Youtube, everything that was created by Google or has been acquired by it is just a Ferrari: the best and the best in each and every possible aspect.

So, no need for advertisement.

But, except for Google Maps, which is the second best but still an excellent Porsche (many small cities in Florence, Italy and Lisbon, Portugal can be found in Microsoft Maps but not on Google Maps), - there is a Google product that not only is not the best but it is actually of low quality: and that is Google Chrome.

To start with, and considering only Mozilla Firefox as benchmark (a Ferrari in the championship of internet browsers), it happens that Chrome is better in some aspects while Firefox is better in other aspects.

Now the big problem with Chrome is that it can... destroy computers!

Its usage of RAM, or its usage of temporary memory based on the hard drive (or something else, remember that we are far from being technicians here, this is just the oppinion of a educated user) - is so intense that it has a much bigger impact in the temperature of the computer than Firefox. And that impact is really important when you use a laptop equipped with a Pentium IV of exactly the same type that was being installed in desktops around 2005: such processors have not much concern for temperature, as their main objective was to be installed in desktops big enough to include a highly effective system of ventilation.

This temperature problem is serious to the point of the laptop turning off spontaneously. I believe this was the reason why my hard drive got destroyed.

After buying a new hardrive, I tryed again Chrome and the same happened: for the same ammount of tabs opened, when compared to Firefox, the computer got much slower, much warmer and the probability of absolute processor stop and/or spontaneous turning off went from 0 with Firefox to almost 1 with Chrome.

And that's why it has to be advertised.

So, Chrome is dangerous. And, besides that, it is not superior in each and every aspect to Firefox as most of other Google services are with respect to the second best product in the respective market.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hoje é Dia da Europa


And what an excellent idea here!!!!!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Jornalismo em Portugal (iv)

Arranca hoje um novo jornal diário em Portugal: "i" de seu nome. Pode ser lido aqui. O seu slogan é "i num instante tudo muda". Será que sim? Esperemos que sim.

O jornal tem como objectivo ser diferente, novo e melhor em tudo. Ser moderno no sentido de levar em conta as grandes transformações na comunicação social: o nível de importância grande e já conquistado pelos jornais online e pelos portais da internet e ainda a crescente importância dos blogues e, mais recentemente, do Twitter.

Ou seja, o objectivo do jornal é dar informação tendo em conta que a informação já pode ser obtida de graça e de muitas outras forma para além do papel.

Hoje será dia não de ler "os jornais" mas de ler "o jornal": virá este jornal a ser tão interessante e tão estimulante como o Público ou o Independente foram? Falo de interesse e estímulo não meramente do ponto de vista formal mas mesmo do conteúdo: virá aí, por exemplo, um jornal que seja de não-esquerda (seja lá o que isso for)?

Há uns anos atrás tinha surgido um novo semanário, o Sol. Comprei os primeiros números. Foi uma desilusão: mais do mesmo, a começar pelo título (sempre esse horror de os jornais portugueses não terem nomes próprios mas nomes surripiados aos jornais estrangeiros). Passados alguns anos, dois no máximo, creio, esse jornal não é uma referência nem acrescenta nada (e a sua versão online é muito má).

Esperemos que este "i" mude de facto muita coisa e para melhor!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Fraca Originalidade do Jornalismo em Portugal (iii)

Em Portugal, escrever um artigo de jornal é qualquer coisa como isto: um auto-intitulado "jornalista", sem sair da redacção do jornal, sem pôr os pés na rua e sem levar a sua cabeça, olhos e ouvidos até à realidade - lê jornais estrangeiros - e faz um resumo. E os jornais são sempre os mesmos: The Guardian e El Mundo.

Mais um exemplo aqui.

O "jornalista", depois de ler os jornais estrangeiros, isto é, depois de se inteirar do trabalho dos verdadeiros jornalistas - aqueles que escrevem sobre aquilo que testemunharam na primeira pessoa, sobre as respostas às pessoas que eles próprios entrevistaram, sobre os livros, exposições, filmes que eles próprios leram ou viram - o "jornalista" poderia, ao menos, pegar no trabalho do jornalista e tentar reproduzi-lo ou, ainda ao menos, o "jornalista" poderia entrevistar o jornalista sobre o trabalho deste.

Mas não. Nem isso: o que o "jornalista" faz é um resumo do trabalho dos jornalistas. Os jornalistas, do Guardian e do El Mundo certamente, trabalham. Os "jornalistas" do DN, do Expresso, etc. resumem.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Para Sempre Muito Obrigado

Vasco Granja

(Fotografia de Bruno Barbosa, retirada daqui).