Monday, September 28, 2009

Talk about talent!

One of the best storytelling I have seen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Freedom -- go to hell



Some people take it to the streets to protest against liberty and freedom. They apparently abhor the 'western' liberalism and democracy. Liberal I mean in the classical sense.

But I wonder, is it not the evil western liberal values of freedom of expression and freedom to peaceful protest that allows them to stand there holding the banner in the first place?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A global what?

It didn't come as a surprise to me to hear that corporations such as Microsoft are advocating for a global patent system, where one of their senior lawyers stated:
In today’s world of universal connectivity, global business and collaborative innovation, it is time for a world patent that is derived from a single patent application, examined and prosecuted by a single examining authority and litigated before a single judicial body.
...and controlled by a single party such as Microsoft!

By its very nature, patents are controversial, especially the software patents which is relevant to software developers such as Microsoft. Patents have become a means to control the small and individual player's innovation. Software patents are more like mathematics.

Is it because, Microsoft is facing possible fines related to a patent infringement in their Word product? Or is it because they are facing stiff competition from Free software, and feels the need to threaten them to get more market share.

Reasons aside, I think Microsoft should work on getting their (as in US patent system) house in order before they export it to the rest of the world via World Intellectual Property Organisation. But wait, that's not going to happen; the US system is beyond repair. With everything getting patented left and right, one cannot write a program that doesn't infringe on a patent. Just recently, Google received a patent on the design of their homepage. Google wasn't even close to being first in minimal clean homepage design. Even if they were first, why should they get a monopoly? Maybe Maldivian architects should patent their architectural designs now, and engineers follow suit with structural designs (claiming rightfully that design patents are granted in some countries).

Otherwise they won't innovate and produce nice efficient designs, would they?

Gotta go clean up my desktop and patent my innovative-super-clean-minimal-user-friendly desktop.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Breaking the monopolies 2

In an earlier post, I wrote in support of the government's decision to break the fish oligopoly in this country. The reason being that, such legislations are only in the interest of selected parties at the expense of the general public. Unfortunately, like everywhere in most of the world, Maldives fares no better at making sure that politicians are able to pick winners and losers.

Now its time to break the other duopolies in this country, ie the ISP and telecom providers. The two ISPs, namely Dhiraagu and ROL, provide poor and expensive packages (infact webhosting is 100 times more expensive as Dhivehi Observer noted). Everyone is well aware of the reduction in prices of Dhiraagu when Wataniya came into competition. We can still take a step further and allow complete competition in the marketplace for Internet and telecommunication service providers. Infact, this is how it should be in every industry. No artificial and restrictive barriers to entry should be placed (like some proposed in another industry). After all, we don't legislate how many construction companies, design firms, clothing shops, computer sellers, web development companies should be there. So why should it be any different for these services? Competition will enhance consumer choice and also reduce prices.

Upcoming startups does not necessarily have to provide universal coverage. Some might infact do. Others might specialise in niche markets or provide speciality services such as VoIP. The technological barrier to entry is quite low with dropping prices of server and network gear, and the abundance of numerous open-source software stacks which are available for free. Plus, the established providers may not innovate or explore the new emerging technologies in the areas of wireless communications, let alone the established technologies of webhosting.