Archive for the 'Other' Category

A Men Dedicated To Its Vision (and that Changed the World)

This men literally changed the World we live in. He had a vision, he failed, but he came back to change everybody’s daily habits. He pushed others to the limit and changed entire industries. Even if I don’t always agree with its company’s decisions, I will always respect its vision, its work and its dedication. Rest in peace Mr. Job.

 

Here are my collection of Steve’s best quotes that I aggregated over time… I hope it helps you understanding who the men was.

 

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. " - Steve Jobs

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." - Steve Jobs

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle." - Steve Jobs

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."  - Steve Jobs

"To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that's too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. They don't have enough dots to connect, and they en up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have." - Steve Jobs

 

 

Design flaws with the new MacBook Pro Intel – My personal experience

 

    I received a MacBook Pro two weeks ago. Since then, I spent about 25 or 30 hours to configure, debug and repair it. The goal is to have a single production machine that have the possibility to run Mac OSX, Windows XP and Linux using Parallels, a Virtual Machine software that work under OSX (and that works pretty well!). However I had many, many troubles to get that production machine working and this blog post is the resume of what doesn’t work, for me, with that laptop computer.

Everybody says that Apple is a design company: you pay 2000 dollars for a beautiful, reliable and well-designed laptop computer. Yeah well, they are quite beautiful, but are they that well designed? Is the quality (you have to pay for quality at that price) that good? I have some doubts.

 

The flaws: what doesn’t work for me

In this blog post I will enumerate the things that goes wrong with my brand new MacBook Pro with an Intel processor.

 

Problems with the CD/DVD driver

 

The quality is questionable

What is the first thing you do when you receive a new laptop? Yeah, you install software! What if the CD/DVD driver doesn’t works? You call the AppleCare service to change it and wait 5 days.

The problem is not that my driver wasn’t working, it can happen. The problem is that the company who sent me the laptop, OpenLink (more information about them and my relation with them later this week), had the exact same problem with others MacPro they bought. So, where is the quality I am supposed to pay for? I have no idea.

 

What about small CDs?

After a couple of days, I bought an external hard drive to use as a backup drive. Then I checked to install some software that was coming with it. I was looking at the small size CD, wondering how I could put it in my laptop’s CD drive? I couldn’t without loosing it and calling the AppleCare service again.

 


(view of the CD/DVD drive)

 

The CD/DVD driver on the MacBook (same for the iBook) is really beautiful. But I think that it is a design flaw considering that you can’t put these little flashy CDs. What can I do? Nothing since the drivers where not accessible from the Internet, so I send back the hard drive to the shopping store.

 

What about the USB ports?

 

It only has 2 USB ports

There are only 2 USB ports on the MacPro. My goal was to use the laptop as my main computer. So I have to plug a mouse, a keyboard, a printer, an external hard drive and possibly my digital camera cable to it. How the hell should I do that? With a USB hub. It works fine now, but I had to use a plug-in.

 

The position of the ports

I am right handed and I always use mouse with my laptops. The biggest design flaw is that they put one of the two USB port exactly where I should put my mouse. Normally it should be at the top of the laptop, near the screen, but this one is right at the middle of the laptop, exactly where it shouldn’t.

 



(Right USB port)

 

Where the problems came from?

I think the problem came from their screen since they can’t put any ports at the back of the laptop so this is why they put them on the sides.

 



(front view of the screen)

 



(back view of the screen)

 

The Intel Processor

“Is the bug coming from the new Intel Processor or it is something else?” This is a frequent question you ask yourself when you buy a Mac Intel. There is no way to know. I spent most of my time trying to figure out what was the problem with the software I was installing on my laptop. Are the bugs were because the software wasn’t compatible with the new Intel processor or it was something else? It depends on the software.

For example, I bought a Microsoft Natural Keyboard because it was working on both Windows and OSX and because I like its feeling. I installed the configuration software on OSX, I restarted OSX, and a message was displayed: not working with this type of instance. So, it wasn’t working for the Intel processor.

I spent a couple of hours to find the new drivers for the keyboard.

This is an example of the current problem (since it will be fixed over time): each time you buy something for the Mac Intel, you have to check if it has been only tested on the PowePC Mac, or the Intel too.

This is really frustrating since you never know.

Would you like to make a fried egg on your laptop? It is now possible!

What I like is checking the news on my couch and reading my Bloglines with my laptop on my knees. This is really hard to do with the MacBook Pro since it become really, really hot. I have a small 12” iBook, and it doesn’t have this problem.

It seems that you can change some settings you fix the problem, so I’ll have to try it.

 

The famous magnetic power cable plug

It was supposed to be a great feature, but in the end, it is a big flaw for me. It is great if you are in an Internet coffee and that someone kick your wire with his legs but for the same reason the one about the heat problem: I spend a great time with my laptop on my knees. The problem here is that the little magnetic plug always unplug: on my couch, in the bus from Quebec to Montreal, etc, etc.

The idea is great, but it is too easy to unplug it, so it makes it more frustrating than useful.

 



 

Try to open your laptop

One last design flaw I can note: the open button is quite too small and seems cheap (doesn’t always work smoothly). I am 6’5” and I have big hands. So when I try to open my laptop, I have to take the time to push the open button well enough to open the laptop. It can seem stupid, but what it would cost to make it s little bit bigger?

 



(front button to open the laptop)

 

Conclusion

Don’t miss understand me here: I didn’t wrote this little blog post to kick Apple with their new laptop model; but only to explain what was not working for me with it and to make people aware of the possible problems they can encounter.

Once I spent 25 hours to install, debug and repair (CD/DVD driver) my workstation, it becomes a real good productivity laptop with a full of advantages (the workflow between OSX and Windows XP via Parallels is really great and work quite fine).

Now I can say that I like my new workstation, but I had to tame it and it frustrated me to have to spend that much time to make it works well enough to work with.

 

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I’ll give a talk at the Webcom Montreal Conference tomorrow: the Web of tomorrow: the Semantic Web

 

    Tomorrow I’ll answer to the question: “What is the Internet of tomorrow for you?” with 3 other people at the Webcom Montreal Conference.

Guest what is my vision of the Internet of tomorrow? Yeah, you are right, it is the semantic web. Bellow is the layout of my talk where I try to answer to the question in the simplest way, with terms that even my mom could understand. The more technical terms used will be: semantic web, web services, data and search engine. The hardest challenge is to express the vision of the semantic web I have with the simplest terms. In fact, all the “simple” terms I enumerated above have a deep implication and have complexes meaning. However, I hope that I’ll be able to communicate my vision well to all the non technical people that will listen at me tomorrow.

 

Today’s Internet is the one of the men:

  • The structure of the current Web: Tables, paragraphs, headers and footers, citations, bold characters, etc.
  • All these structures exist to help people to understand the meaning of a document.

 

Tomorrow’s Internet is the one of the machine:

  • The structure of tomorrow’s Web: Same documents and same data. A structure that explicit the context and the semantic, the link between the data. Usage of a grammar and a vocabulary to express and communicate the data.

 

How the documents of the semantic web will be used?

  • By web services
  • By applications like:
    • Electronic agend,
    • Calendar
    • Knowledge management systems
    • Etc.
  • By search engines
  • By any application that use Web data

 

What are the advantages of the semantic web?

  • Save time processing data (search time, information management, etc)
  • More pertinent search engine results
  • Better communication between web services
  • Targeted publicity depending on the context
  • Easier and faster web service developments (thanks to standards). The result is the development of more complex systems

 

What are the inconvenient of the semantic web?

  • More work for the software programmer to generate and publish its data for the semantic web.
  • The effects on privacy are unknown

 

What are the advantage of the semantic web vis-à-vis other already existing solutions?

  • The creation of standards assuring the good communication of information between applications that use the data.

 

Is the semantic web already existing?

  • Presentation of the SIOC ontology and its prototype applications.
  • Presentation of Piggy Bank.

 

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The CSSWS 2006 program is available

As I said, I will be at the CSWWS in Quebec City the 6th June 2006. The program of the event is now available. I just got a look at it and it seems really interesting because they have been able to have speakers that will talk about a wide range of Semantic Web technologies, techniques, domains and problematics.

There will be two tutorials:

  1. Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) Standards for Ontology Development
  2. State of Affairs in Semantic Web Services (SWS)

and many presentations divided in 4 main themes:

  1. Architectures and Systems
  2. Rules, Description Logic and Uncertainty
  3. Applications
  4. Foundations

It will be really interesting to attend to that workshop because there is a lot of room for really interesting discussions about the Semantic Web.

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Read this if you want to know more about me: my new personal website

I just finished to re-write an English (thanks to Jon for correcting it) and French version of my personal web site. I wanted to open myself a little bit more on the cyberspace; I wanted to give the possibility to people to learn who Fred is personally, professionally and in pictures.

More and more people contact me, via my blog and website, for a full of reasons. However, everything is happening on the cyberspace and people sometime have doubts about the authenticity of the people they meet. For that other reason, I wanted to write more things about me: what my profession is and my passions in life as well as publishing hundred of pictures I took around the World in my last trips. That way I wish that people become more comfortable and less shy to talk with me by knowing more things about my personality. That way, I wish that I will increase the trust people have in my cyber-authenticity (so trusting me and my work).

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This blog is a regularly updated collection of my thoughts, tips, tricks and ideas about my semantic Web researches and related software development.


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