How to promote GNU and Software Freedom on 5th Avenue for free

Get this: Microsoft execs are desperately trying to reach kids and hipsters (pretending Windows is a cool brand) that they allow anybody to broadcast their tweets in the store window at legendary Saks on Fifth Avenue New York.

So here is your chance: tweet about software freedom, GNU, and Windows7sins using the #holidaywindows hashtag. And have fun!

via Apple Fans Flood Microsoft Window Display With “Get A Mac” Tweets | Cult of Mac.

Update: it seems that they are indeed filtering the Twitter stream. From a brief look at the messages posted, though, I wonder what is showing up on that window: most messages are promoting Mac anyway. This IMHO confirms that Microsoft has a long way to go if it wants to reposition its brand into the ‘cool’ realm.

BTW: we can still try to go past the filters and advertise to donate to charities, like FSF, SFLC or EFF 🙂

Libreplanet, Android, Funambol, Symbian, Ubuntu, Gnome, Mozilla and more at OSCON

OSCON 2009 was as good as I thought it would be. This year there was no mobile specific track but lots of talks about cloud computing. I met very interesting people, attaching faces and voices to email addresses and identi.ca accounts. The BoF about mobile cloud gave me the chance to discuss ideas with Andy Oram and other smart people and I’ll start developing them in the next few months.

Award winning Evan Prodromou and other identi.ca folks liked the idea of integrating the FoaF network in your mobile and desktop addressbook. With Bradley Kuhn and others of FSF Libreplanet we talked about the free software version of the Android OS. Some people are already working to liberate the radio drivers (GSM and wi-fi) in order to have a fully free kernel while many applications are already free as in freedom. The group is also interested in the Funambol syncml client because that adds more autonomy for the user.

The session by Stormy Peters gave me a few ideas for Funambol community that I’ll start implementing as soon as next week (watch Twitter and identi.ca for announcements). We also talked about Funambol as a provider of grants for Gnome projects. With Louis Suarez-Potts we talked about code hosting platforms and ways for the Funambol and OpenOffice.org community to collaborate.

The Ubuntu team gave very interesting presentations. I talked with UbuntuOne developer Stuart Langridge about syncing data (see his presentation): I loved to hear about integrating CouchDB with Kontact/Akonadi and GNOME Evolution.  I followed also the presentations about Launchpad: interesting, especially the license, but I’ll have to dive deeper in it. I joined the Symbian Foundation workshop where I learned that Symbian^1, used in the latest handsets, has a Python interpreter installed by default. Sounds cool especially since it has less limitations than the Java VM.

The presentation of Mozilla Thunderbird 3 gave me hope that there can be an email client that doesn’t suck! And it was fun to follow Mako’s talk about ‘Antifeatures‘. The SourceForge Community Awards party was great, with free drinks, music, entertainment, a r/c car that runs on walls and tatoos. Great to be there, hope to repeat next year.

Funambol engineers apply iPhone ergonomics to cars

Check this out: Funambol’s R&D department just released a prototype user interface for driving cars. According to my colleagues that drove it in Redwood City, it’s so easy to use, even a caveman can drive it. The vehicle smashes driving age limit with “snap” finger-powered steering; integrates cruise control with Google Latitude to automatically get friend.  See it in action:

Full press release

Rainman, the day of the election

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Rainman

Rainman

This is how I’m dressed when it rains… well, it pours, for days like it happened last week. I hope that now winter is over and we will get only light spring showers. I can stand those, without having to wear the full swim suit 🙂

PS The picture was taken by my colleague Andrea in the school’s corridor.

PPS the pic was taken on Monday, the day of the election of the new government. It was raining. We have a saying in Italian about rain and government. Coincidence? 🙂 (Very rough translation: It rains, government thief).

New UI from Funambol to iPhone

Only real hackers consider improving what everybody else thinks is already optimal. At Funambol we like to do just that and we decided to improve the iPhone user interface:

Funambol, the company that is known for putting the “fun” back in the mobile business, today released a high contrast user interface for the widely used iPhone, making it more fun to use and more accessible to select customers.

Read the rest of the press release with the working screenshots on Funambol for iPhone.

Upgraded wordpress, closing the week

This WordPress needed some maintainance, but this time instead of upgrading ‘manually’ I decided to use the WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin: boy, it was fast and simple. It seems to be working fine.’  If you spot any glitches let me know. Now for me it’s time to go play with the RC minihelicopter and away from computers.

Tomorrow I’ll meet Hal in person for the first time at Malpensa while he is flying to Barcelona for the MWC: I’ll take pictures 🙂