reportr – Show your Flickrness!

April 27th, 2008 by Daniele Muscetta

reportr - Show your Flickrness!

How many times you have gone somewhere (public demonstration, event, concert, etc) where yo saw other people shooting photos and you though "some of them MUST be flickr'ers"…. but you never had the guts to go and introduce yourself?

Now it's time to show off that you are a Flickr'er, and let other people figure it out.

Polo:

www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&am…

Cap:

www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&am…
NOTE:

This is just an idea and it is NOT endorsed by Flickr itself.

Also, I do not get any money for it – those are just the prices imposed by the online shop used to create them. I just thought it was a funny idea and I wanted to share it.

Birth of Rome Celebrations

April 23rd, 2008 by Daniele Muscetta
Natale di Roma

Every year proud Romans celebrate the birth of the Eternal City (21 April), founded by Romulus in 753BC, with a series of events at venues throughout Rome, including the Roman Forum and the Campidoglio.

Celebrations include parades, gladiator shows, traditional Roman banquets and public speeches galore from local historical societies.

See the complete set of picture I took this time.

Conversation about Blogs with a customer

March 28th, 2008 by Daniele Muscetta

I usually don't like mentioning specific facts that happened to me at work. But work is part of life, so even if this is mostly a personal blog, I cannot help myself but write about certain things that make me think when they happen.

When I end up having conversations such as this, I get really sad: I thought we had finally passed the arrogant period where we had to spoon-feed customers, and I thought we were now mature enough to consider them smart people and providing cool, empowering technologies for them to use. I also thought that pretty much everybody liked Microsoft finally opening up and actually talking TO people… not only talking them INTO buying something, something – but having real conversations.

I get sad when I find that people still don't seem to be accepting that, and wanting back the old model, instead. Kinda weird.

 

The conversation goes as follows (words are not exactly those – we were speaking Italian and I sort of reconstructed the conversation – you should get the sense of it anyway):

 

[…]

Me: "The SDK service allows you to do quite a lot of cool stuff. Unfortunately not all of that functionality is completely or always easily exposed in the GUI. That is, for example: it is very EASY to define overrides, but it can get very tricky to find them back once set. That's why you can use this little useful tool that the developer of that SDK service has posted on his blog…"

Cust: "…but we can't just read blogs here and there!"

Me: "Well, I mean, then you may have to wait for the normal release cycle. It might be that those improvements will make it in to the product. That might happen in months, if you are lucky, or maybe never. What's wrong if he publishes that on his blog, bypassing the bureaucracy crap, and makes your life easier with it RIGHT NOW?"

Cust: "It is not official, I want it in the product!"

Me: "I see, and even understand that. But right now that feature just isn't there. But you can use this tool to have it. Don't worry: it is not made by some random guy who wants to trojan your server! It is made by the very same developer who wrote the product itself…"

Cust: "It is not supported, what if it breaks something?"

Me: "So are all resource kit tools, in general. written by some dev guy in his free five minutes, and usually unsupported. Still very useful, though. Most of them. And they usually do work, you know that much, don't you?"

Cust: "But why on a blog?"

Me: "What's wrong with this? People are just trying to make customer's life easier by being transparent and open and direct in their communication, just talking RIGHT to the customers. People talking to people, bypassing the prehistoric bureaucracy structure of companies… the same happens on many other sites, just think isatools.org for example… those are just tools that a support guy like me has written and wants to share because they might be useful…"

Cust: "But I can't follow/read all the blogs out there! I don't have time for it"

Me: "Why not? I have thousands of feeds in my aggregator and…"

Cust: "I don't have time and I don't want to read them, because I pay for support, so I don't expect this stuff to be in blogs"

Me: "Well, I see, since you pay for support, you are paying ME – in fact I am working with you on this product precisely as part of that paid support. That's why I am here to tell you that this tool exists, in case you had not heard of it, so you actually know about it without having to read that yourself on any blog… does that sound like a deal? Where's the issue?"

Cust: "Sgrunt. I want something official, I don't like this blog stuff"

[…]

 

I thought this was particularly interesting, not because I want to make fun of this person. I do respect him and I think he just has a different point of view. But in my opinion this conversation shows (and made me think about) an aspect of that "generation gap" inside Microsoft that Hugh talks about here:

"[…]4.30 Hugh talks about a conversation he had with a few people inside Microsoft- how there’s a generation gap growing within the company, between the Old Guard, and the new generation of Microsofties, who see their company in much more open, organic terms.[…]"

Basically this tells me that the generation gap is not happening only INSIDE Microsoft: it invests our customers too. Which makes it even more difficult to talk to some of them, as we change. Traditions are hard to change.

Ca(p)tching Cats and Dogs

March 9th, 2008 by Daniele Muscetta

I read on Jeff Atwood's blog about most strong Captcha having been defeated. Also, on top of visitors getting annoyed by it, the Captcha plugin I am using has gone unmantained lately. And, one way or another, I am getting comment spam again. Which is something I really hate as you know what I would love to do to spammers…

I am seriously considering giving Asirra a try. It is an interesting project from Microsoft Research for an HIP (Human Interaction Proof) that uses info from petfinder.com to let users set apart pictures of dogs from those of cats. There is also a WordPress plugin, in the best and newest "we want to interoperate" fashion that we are finally getting at Microsoft (this has always been the way to go, IMHO, and BTW).

Anyway, what do you think ?

Cum grano salis

September 12th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Cum grano salis

Cum grano salis, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

I like salt. I don't usually cook with a lot of it, and I don't particularly like very salty food. But I really like salt on its own.
When I was a child, I used to go to the kitchen, at my granny's home, and steal a grasp of salt from its jar, and I went hiding under a bed. Once hidden, I ate my trasure.
An homeopaths once asked me (among the whole lot of strange question they ask you) if I did, indeed, eat raw, uncooked salt, just like I told you I did as a kid. At that time I got impressed and surprised by the thing.
Now I realize he was trying to figure out if I was a person of the NATRUM MURIATICUM type.
I am not sure I am one of that kind, maybe partially. Actually I am more towards the SILICEA type.
At least, that remedy (silicea) has worked with me a bunch of times.
Probably, even in homeopathy, I don't fit exactly in one classification.
Salt was also used in the ancient times as money.
The modern term "salary" (wage, payment) comes from this use that was done of it, from its value back then.

Luca | in the Wind

September 4th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Luca | in the Wind

Luca | in the Wind, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

One of the best portraits I took lately.
On Flickr it has been on Explore: flickr.com/explore/interesting/2007/8/31/page12

Who said the Sigma 28-300 is crap ? You need to know how to use it 🙂

per incollare carte, stoffe, fotografie, etc…

August 31st, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

per incollare carte, stoffe, fotografie, etc...

Coccoina, a piece of Italian history.

"Italy, for example, is a puzzle […]. Family businesses, therefore, form the backbone of the Italian economy. There are businesses which grow rich by doing small things very well. […] "Better not bigger" is their preferred route to to wealth because bigger inevitably means the eventual sharing of power with people you cannot know well enough to trust." – quote: Charles Handy – "Beyond Certainty"

Lemmings

August 27th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Lemmings

The complete story of the Lemmings
www.dmadesign.org/Lem_1.htm

(read from Jeff Atwood on twitter, where I also discover that it can now be played online)

Searching for myself on various search engines

August 21st, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Searching for myself on Yahoo Image Search

Searching for myself on Yahoo Image Search, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

Here I start a quick comparison of what search engines actually find about me.
I am glad to read that Live Search can find Jimi Hendrix's face, and Google can spot those portraits of Paris Hilton.
Unfortunately I am not as famous as them, so not enough people have tagged me. Not on "normal" web pages or newspaper.

Yahoo did a great/smart thing buying Flickr.
It gets people doing the TAGGING for them.
So the results are accurate for pretty much everything.

Ok granted. All of these pictures are coming out of Flickr.
But while that is a limitation, it is also its power.

This is also why I was able to search for "blackberries" the other day and find the thing I was searching for, that is FRUIT that grows spontaneously in the woods, rather than a bunch of stupid mobile telephones.
try: images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=blackberry+OR+fruit

Doing the same search on Google:

Searching for myself on Google Image Search

Ok this is not all from flickr anymore, they actually have the rest of the web in their database. Most of them are pictures I made – granted. But only one OF me, and definitely not the first one. Ninth position.

try the blackberry serch images.google.com/images?svnum=10&q=blackberry+OR+fruit

And now Live Search:

Searching for myself on Live Image Search

Same as Google: images from everywhere. Less images than Google. Most of them made by me (not all). An actual picture of myself is in 9th position.

my blackberry search here finds a lot of fruit…

blackberry_live

strangely enough, there's an IPhone among them!!!!

Don't touch the Surface!

August 13th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

I am sorry I only read this blog post by Eileen Brown today, not when she posted it. It got lost somewhere among loads of other feeds. Anyway I am sorry I read it so late, because, by now, commenting on that post is not possible anymore. Hope she does get the pingback at least…

Anyway, the post goes about Microsoft Surface. Which is something really cool. Eileen goes saying that she's worried if her cat would jump on the touch-screen table doing some damage to her information / data /accounts…. when I first saw the technology presented, I actually thought sort of the same thing…. what about my son going to the table with his hands dirty of chocolate paste ?? I have blogged in the past about the danger he poses…

Since kids these days do use the computers, having to replace keyboards because they are full of biscuits'crumbles or because they spilled fruit juice on them is quite common. Just less expensive than the special touch-screen, at the moment….

Scoble Spam ?

August 13th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Scoble Spam ?

Scoble Spam ?, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

In reply to Dare….. he's Hijacked my news feed too!!!!

Cassandra, or my horoscope for today…

August 7th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

[…] Pisces are known for sometimes playing the role of a prophet. This is the case for you at the moment, Daniele. Wherever you are, people will think you are deeply connected with the planet and particularly able to act on whatever philosophy you espouse. You would make an excellent political advisor. Though it remains to be seen if people will listen to you because your ideas are very cutting-edge… […]

Windows Management Instrumentation

July 24th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Windows Management Instrumentation

Windows Management Instrumentation, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

If you can't see what I am referring to in this picture, try to take a look at the large picture.
Or just look at the title bar.. eeeehhhmm… at the window….
If you still don't get it, you are probably not a geek. In that case don't worry: it is not you; it's us.

Growing in numbers

June 5th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Growing in numbers 

Here, in my home, we are affected by a serious colorful plastic shoe addiction. They have already outnumbered us…. please help: if you know how to get de-intoxicated feel free to contact us…

Jyothi, 1983

May 29th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Ballet

Ballet, uploaded by jyothi76 on Flickr.

This is an old picture (1983) of the ballet school my wife was attending when she was a little girl. Can you figure out who she is in the pic ?

Ancient and Modern (aka "Digital Printouts" and Writing Secure Systems)

May 5th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Ancient and Modern (aka

Digital Printouts.
I often find it funny to use the old reflex camera with films, but I mostly use it as if it was a digital one: I make many shots, some are good some are bad – I don't bother printing them, I just let it develop and I scan the pictures I like from the film (several ones are even posted here this way).
I have even been talking about this with fellow flickerer's: www.flickr.com/groups/romamor/discuss/72157600009019234/p…

On the opposite, it often happens that I want to print some photos made with the digital camera. So I take them to the shop on the Compact Flash, or more often on a USB pen drive.

Today, tough, something strange happened: the machine they use to print digital photos (some very big professional system for printing on photographic paper with a proprietary application which manages it) hanged while it was trying to load this one photo which was on the USB pendrive.

The guy at the shop got panicked: he said a week earlier a guy got the machine infected with a Virus through his USB pen, and he had to stop working for three days, spend a lot of money to get the system reinstalled…

I tried to tell him to close the application but he did not even get what I was talking about. He was saying that the system was not responsive… I was pretty sure the system WAS responsive, it was just the APPLICATION which was hanging, and since it looked like an NT-based system I tried to guide him through CTRL+ALT+DEL, to start "Task Manager", kill the application (this whole procedure took several minutes, and I had to show him which keys I was talking about as he was abel to find "ALT" but he had never hear of CTRL, left alone "DEL"). It was a Windows2000 Professional… so I wondered how did he logged in if he did not know that key combination….. I asked how did he get in when he started the machine…. "it opens automatically" he said. I see. I though it must be configured for autologon then. After killing the application he asked "how do I get out of this now??" "This" being Windows Explorer… I mean, the desktop. I pulled out my USB pendrive he was afraid of, I helped him reboot. He was nervous and he said it took much longer than normal to start up (I don't believe ONE word of it, it just took much less time than my laptop with Vista takes to start up… but he was worried and that makes one anxious and makes time flow slower). He was afraid and nervous that the "thing" could have been broken somehow by trying to load a JPEG…
NOTHING made him confident about me: I tried to reassure him I am an IT Professional, that I work for Microsoft (unfortunately I did not have my business cards with me today, that would have probably helped!), that I put my hands on much more complex and "missioncritical" systems, that I would not bring him any virus whatsoever and I am paranoid about computer security…
Nothing. Nothing worked to re-assure him that there wasn't anything to worry about my pen…

While the machine started I saw it doing AutoAdminLogon with Administrator… with a password of TWO characters.
Oh my god!
Then he wonders that he gets viruses from strangers. He runs as Administrator all the time!!!

But then I though and asked… "is there maybe a LIMIT on the SIZE of the file?". "Of course there is!".
Right.

Since the photo I wanted to print is actually a composition made of two photos pasted together, and each of the original was a 8 Megapixel photo, the resulting is a 16 Megapixel picture, a JPG file of roughly 8 megabytes in size. Well, this days it isn't much anyway. We nearly have cameras which produce files with that high resolution…
..but if THAT application has a limit… WHY on earth doesn't it CHECK for the bloody SIZE of the file BEFORE trying to load it ?

I mean, those are professional systems which – he said – cost around 150 THOUSAND of Euros… which they let run with an application which does NOT do any input checking/validation, runs the whole time as Administrator… while letting people bring in their own CD-ROMs, USB pens, flash memory cards….
and they expect it to be safe?

Now the guy was panicked and wouldn't let me plug my pen in the machine again.

Then he's keeping his shop closed in the afternoon since it is saturday, and I need that photo (and other ones) printed for tomorrow, because tomorrow it is my grandad's 91st birthday and I wanted to bring them printed for him and framed as a present!

Morale: I have to find another place to print them in the afternoon, in a rush, because some company sells print systems which are written like crap, which need to run as Administrator and won't do any input validation in their code. This is one of those situations where a design flaw matters.

Mum' B-day :: Easter :: Etch

April 14th, 2007 by Daniele Muscetta

Mum :: Easter :: Bday

April 8th 2007 it was Easter Sunday.
It was also my mum's birthday.

I had just missed the new, but I am catching up now, that Debian Etch shipped.

What a day!

Happy XMas Holidays!

December 23rd, 2006 by Daniele Muscetta

Happy XMas Holidays!

I am a "generous experiencer"… according to PersonalDNA

November 20th, 2006 by Daniele Muscetta

The personality test at PersonalDNA says I am a "generous experiencer".

I don't believe that tests can totally be accurate, but there are some elements which are indeed correct.
Give it a try.

Rome Calendar 2007

November 11th, 2006 by Daniele Muscetta
Rome Calendar 2007

Rome Calendar 2007, uploaded by Daniele Muscetta on Flickr.

I've used these photos to publish a calendar that you can get here: www.lulu.com/content/512186

Ok, I won't get rich from it, but I thought it was funny.


Support Independent publishing: buy this calendar on Lulu.