Archive for June, 2014|Monthly archive page

DOCX disaster recovery

DOCX disaster recovery: How I rescued my wife from XM-HELL • The Register.

It’s an interesting account, though I wonder if the error would even have been possible with Apache OpenOffice. The writer, however, does state that the user incurred the error using an old version of LibreOffice. FWIW, I’ve never encountered this sort of error (or any, actually) using Apache OpenOffice -> .docx (or .doc or many other formats) in all my years of using AOO (and before then, OOo; LibreOffice takes off from an earlier quasi-fork of OOo). More likely, as I generally use AOO, whatever errors there be are silently dealt with by the application. Evidently, that’s too much for MSFT’s own version of an office suite.

Adapteva and Parallela and The People’s Supercomputer

About Us | Adapteva.

I rather like this: “Adapteva is the sponsor of the Parallella project and the designer of the Parallella board. The Parallella project is a community of users and developers dedicated to the promotion and progress of parallel processing in the industry. The Parallella board is an open platform available to participants to explore, prototype and contribute to an open source library of expertise, information and code samples for the benefit of the community. The community of thousands of people is a professional community of experienced participants worldwide.”

iilab | Tribulations in Open Collaboration, Part 1

iilab | Tribulations in Open Collaboration, Part 1.


The work being done by is impressive and ranges wide. They just came out with a “panic button” that was sponsored by Amnesty International and which is meant to be used by those facing imminent arrest or occlusion to alert supporters, family, and others who often have no clue what has happened.

But the open collaboration project here is of particular interest to me–as are the really interesting links to the various “Open ….” endeavours. Thus:

In the world of Open practices

As when I start any new project, I’ve been researching the best ways to work together openly for Droplet. I’ve used different approaches for different projects, both to try them out and to cater for different audiences and teams. There are some great experiments out there to learn from: from the more business inspired to the more community driven.

Gittip’s founder – also one of the initiators of the (Open Company Initiative]( – made it a practice to hold partner calls “on air”. There are also some formal methodologies out there to implement an Open Design process like the Open P2P Design Toolkit – “a simple tool for helping people approach design thinking on a metadesign level”. Sounds simple to me! Though it would be nice to see the source for the toolkit on github…. And the Open Design Definition which however probably will focus on the nature of the knowledge shared rather than the processes that enable it.

Google Algorithm Change Whacks Naked Capitalism | naked capitalism

Google Algorithm Change Whacks Naked Capitalism | naked capitalism.


Yves’ article and observations here are interesting. They reflect the effect of changes in how we (or people like me) read many sites. I use Feedly. It aggregates RSS feeds and I can read these on any number of devices. As a consequence, I don’t actually visit sites like naked capitalism or any of the others I am subscribed to very often. And I didn’t really think about the consequences of my ceasing to visit them.

But advertisers do track these things and so do site owners, who deal with advertisers and set prices. The effects then of subscriptions is unclear, as it seems to deprecate the actual value of the site. A strategy that NC is now contemplating is truncating what is actually delivered via RSS, forcing the reader who wants more to go to the site. I can live with that.

I also suspect that in the next few years if not sooner more subscriptions will bloom. Ads are finicky things; subscriptions, which pretty much date back to the 19th century (and is how books were initially sold, at least in the US), are less so. So, in this model, I’d not only pay for my Feedly account, which provides useful tools for content aggregation, search, etc., but also to the various sites I subscribe to. However, the fee would have to be small and I would guess also set so that it could be itself packaged with other, related sites and services.

Scott Adams Blog: The Pivot 06/16/2014

Scott Adams Blog: The Pivot 06/16/2014.

No doubt, many have already read this. It’s disturbingly accurate.

Daring Fireball: Only Apple

Daring Fireball: Only Apple.

This is a fairly smart essay on Apple. It accords with what I and, I am sure, others have held: That Apple’s genius lay as much, if not more, in effectively controlling a section of the industry, from software to hardware:

Apple suffered when they could not operate at large scale. When you go your own way, you need a critical mass to maintain momentum, to stay ahead of the commodity horde. To pick just one example: CPUs. Prior to the Mac’s switch to Intel processors in 2006, Macs were generally more expensive and slower than the Windows PCs they were competing against. There weren’t enough Macs being sold to keep Motorola or IBM interested in keeping the PowerPC competitive, and Apple didn’t have the means to do it itself. Compare that to today, where Apple can design its own custom SoC CPUs — which performbetter than the commodity chips used by their competitors. That’s because Apple sells hundreds of millions of iOS devices per year. Apple’s commitment to making its own hardware provided necessary distinction while the company was relatively small. Now that the company is huge, it still provides them with distinction, but now also an enormous competitive edge that cannot be copied. You can copy Apple’s strategy, but you can’t copy their scale.

Of Interest: Schulich one of first to receive CIRA research grant

YFile » Schulich one of first to receive CIRA research grant.

This is good news. I also know Mekki and am delighted that he’s one of those spearheading this study. From the article,

“What is the value for Canadian businesses of not just using but also contributing to open-source software? That’s the innovative question we’re asking that has never before been researched at a Canadian university,” said MacAulay. “Our research will help Canadian organizations who deliver business or social services on the Internet understand, from a strategic perspective, how developing open-source tools to access the Internet can make them more competitive and better address the needs of their stakeholders.”


Riehle, The Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source Business Model (Updated 2010)

The Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source Business Model | Software Research and the Industry.


Riehle’s fairly well-known paper from 2009, updated 2010, bears re-reading, especially as more companies consider open source and choose, consciously or no, to utilize an open core model. Open core means an open “core” but proprietary (or similar) add-ons or other elements that actually make the application desirable. It unfortunately has tended to become, at least in some circles, a preferred business model for young companies wanting to engage in open source but reluctant to commit completely to a copyleft licensing scheme.

More on E-Waste

E-waste: Crude recycling methods used in developing countries contaminate air, water and soil, researchers say — ScienceDaily.

A proposed US ban on the export of electronics waste won’t accomplish its goal of stopping crude methods of recycling “e-waste” — especially junked computers — that are resulting in environmental damage in developing countries, researchers say. A new paper calls into question conventional thinking that trade bans can prevent “backyard recycling” of electronics waste — primarily old and obsolete computers — in developing countries.

Developing world will produce double the e-waste of developed countries by 2016

“Our central assertion is that the new structure of global e-waste generation discovered here, combined with economic and social considerations, call for a serious reconsideration of e-waste policy,” the report notes.”

Developing world will produce double the e-waste of developed countries by 2016, study predicts — ScienceDaily.

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