at IGF

Not news, really, but how often do you hear "their" opinions on air?
Also during the Openness session, a representative from Reporters without Borders questioned the panelist from Cisco Systems, the company who provides the Chinese government with the technology to spy on its citizens and block websites — and that eventually leads to the imprisonment and killing of people who are critical of the policies of the Chinese government. Art Reilly of Cisco said it provides the same technology to all governments and does not feel responsible for the way in which China uses the technology to repress its people. Would that argument absolve a company of ethical responsibility for providing gas to the Nazis, knowing full well that the gas would be used to exterminate people? Here’s a video clip of the exchange.
from the ipjustice blog, more clips linked from there

Protect Freedom #1: Eliminate DRM

Stikr aktion at factoryjoe's flickr garage.

First sketches

Ok, Let's recap:

  • Relational database (SQL) tables are records. We can view them (in our heads) as record type definitions.
  • JOINS define (some kind of) derived union types.
  • SQL CROSS JOINS are full cartesian products, i.e. union types where no name folding/aliasing is done by the imaginary type system

How can we model that in php?

Classes (and objects) are records. Arrays are records too. Both are candidates for doing the job. We need to be able to somehow represent this (meta) type information and manipulate it. The aim is to have a natural feeling/looking abstraction of the database in php. It should be flexible enough, for us to modify the relations at runtime, as we need. It should allow us in the long run to have a near optimal speed and not too much complications in the end code. That is a tough cookie.

Problems of active record and friends

After a lot of silence caused by lot's of work (good, my bills are happy) and a continuous diversion into scheme, haskell, dylan and other interesting languages, I'm back into php speaking land. Funny feeling that. So here comes the beginning of something I've been continuously rubbing my (leftovers of) brains against.

copout This is not php specific, but since it discusses frequent problems occuring in php apps, I've labeled it with as php related as well. Makes it easier maintaining the site you see.

I have a problem with active record as a pattern. It is a logical one. Essentially it turn a (SQL) database row into an object. The class of the object represents the SQL table or view. Of course you can add behaviour to those classes and objects, i.e. activating those records.

All that is nice and dandy, but when you start talking about relations and constructing dynamically queries and corresponding objects, we start hitting the limitations of what I will call from now on the naive active record.

The problem is not trivial at all. It boils down to how to make peace between the host language type system (for example classes) and the SQL's dynamic compound types - the relations expressed as SELECT variants for example. It gets even harder when we decide to reverse the direction, so that we actulally want to update the database. Yuk! As though somebody actually does that!

Amazon web services

I've been going through Amazon's web services today and can't help but admire their relatively low-key, but promising approach to diversifying their revenue stream.

It looks like they try to find ways to utilise what they are best at - e-commerse, mass scale comuting and data storage. Their prices seem really reasonable as well.

All this makes a nice change from the aggressive revenue from marketing/advertising google and yahoo are concentrating on.

Kilnaboy

If you haven't heard Kilnaboy play, and let's face it, most of you haven't, try and do it. Get on the bus, train, walk, crawl, whatever just do it. It's worth it. I never thought that folk can make so much racket and actually be enjoyable. Well, the guys have the passion and the energy to pull it off and enjoy themselves at the same time.

patents? here is an example, again

[[http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/10/23/1814217.shtml|IBM Sues Amazon For Patent Infringement]]
IBM Files Patent Infringement Lawsuits Against Amazon.com

Well, the story with patents is on the roll, again. BBC had patents on links, IBM has patents on e-commerce, what next?

Kudos to the Royal Society

Today I had the pleasure of reading works by Sir Isaac Newton and Simpson in the Philosophical Transactions (of the Royal Society). Yes, it's true, they have digitised their archive starting from volume 1, 1665/1666. It is an entertaining read. Enjoy.

RIAA to influence a new cold war?

The allofmp3 sitcom continues. Reuters has an article about the latest hurdle to Russia's membership to the WTO and surprise, surprise, that is allofmp3.

The interesting bit is that the company behind the website is apparently acting according to the local law. It does pay money to the organisation representing the authors rights in Russia - which is what the Russian law says. It apparently treats internet music sales similarly to how radio broadcasts and coffee shop music are charged in other places.

software patents, or my personal insights

Up until now I was avoiding putting my thoughts on 'paper', but here we are. My instincts simply say Restricting knowledge distribution and use is wrong. Some might say this makes me a communist devil, anarchist or whatever other epithet is currently cool in their circles. Let's avoid that for the time being. These scribbles are probably not 100% correct. But the ideas are what matters anyway. And will you find a difference from a bird's eye view?

Obviously this is a strong social issue, as in it reflects a growing concern of the society as a whole. The society as the human beings represented by a state, like UK, USA, France, Bulgaria, or groups of states like EU, UN, ... Some long time ago patents were introduced by the British Crown in order to give a temporary monopoly to inventors, so that they can protect and exploit their knowhow, while making the knowledge (their knowhow) public. This was a significant social issue. This way knowledge was immediately becoming exploitable by the society. People could benefit from the abstract knowledge or the principles behind the patentable invention. These principles were not patentable at the time, only some of their defined applications - the invention, machines, products etc... The monopoly lasted for a relatively short period of time. Longer than it would take at the time to reverse engineer an invetion and set up production of a competitive product, but not by too much. This is important, since timescales, im my opinion, are important when trying to rationalise the costs of patents to a society.

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