I received an invitation to Shapeways, a 3D printing service. How it works is easy: you upload a 3D model (X3D, COLLADA or STL) and they use a fancy 3D printer to produce a stereolithography in the material you choose (there are 4 options as of now), which is sent to you in 10 working days.

Obvious uses of this service: produce the coolest and greatest anime or RPG miniatures

Not-so-obvious uses of this service: build impossible to find pieces for home appliances, vintage computers or anything else you can think of.

It’s been five and a half years now since the Twin Towers attack and Osaba Bin Laden is yet to be found. As time goes by, more and more is known about the ties between the Bush family and the Bin Laden family and how the Bin Ladens were let go without any questioning right after September 11th.

I, therefore, have come with a new hypothesis trying to explain why nobody has found Osama Bin Laden after more than five years of search.

Say the Bushs fucked the Bin Ladens in one or more than one of their common business. Say the little Osama did not take it too well. Say the little Osama is using the muslims to act on his behalf without the muslims knowing.

Essentially, it goes like this: the Bush family played some dirty tricks on the Bin Laden business and Osama wanted retaliation. How to get retaliation against a so powerful “enemy”? Use someone without him knowing. The muslims were the perfect target: there had already been some itch between the USA and the muslim world for many years before Sept. 11th, 2001. Osama Bin Laden disguises himself into a radical muslim cleric and calls for the Jihad against the USA with great success. Most probably the plan was to leave the radical muslim world after the WTC attack but it was so successful, so compelling for many muslim and anti-USA people, that he could not just disappear on Sept. 12th and he is forced to keep acting, to release some speeches on tape from time to time to feed the followers of this radical-Osama.

So, in summary, why haven’t we found Osama Bin Laden yet? I think it is because we are looking for the wrong Osamba Bin Laden. We are looking for a long-bearded Osama Bin Laden, one which is wearing a jallabah and a turban. But according to my hypothesis (which I can not proof), we should be looking for an occidental-looking Saudi Arab, one who dresses just like a rich French or British man would do: Armani suit, most probably without beard or moustache of any kind, doing business here and there and keeping himself far apart from muslims. He might even be pretending to be a Christian or Atheist. I make this proposition to the authorities: go and try to find that Osama Bin Laden, I am pretty confident you will find him.

One more thing: if my hypothesis is correct, Osama Bin Laden might have tried to use other useful fools before the muslims (Hugo Chavez/Fidel Castro, radical jews, the Chinese, etc.) but none of them dared to conduct such an attack on the USA.

Some people have a lot of things they’d like to do, but I only have one and it looks probably naive to most of you.

Here it goes.

If I be rich, I would set up a foundation to promote Science for the average man (AKA popular science). Making scientific knowledge accessible to the average Joe is of capital importance: make Joe understand what what happens around us and what scientists are doing and maybe 10% of Joes would pursue further knowledge, therefore becoming scientists themselves.

I am particularly interested in Mathematics and Physics, although I do not disdain any subject which could be tested by the Scientific Method. That leaves Psychology, Sociology and the so-called “Social Sciences” out (btw, I’m still trying to find what “science” there is in “social sciences”, no pun intended).

Every 4 to 6 months I have an idea for a new technology or a new application for an existing technology.

The company I work for does not invest in R+D and that annoys me, as I am unable to further develop my ideas without help.

Advised by a business-creation program, 18 months ago I removed some of the ideas I had previously posted here.

Now, after a couple of disappointments due to other companies patenting my ideas years after I had “invented them” -I guess they have discovered those thing independently, I’m not suggesting they have ever copied me-, and a conversation with Agustín Benítez of Fotón Sistemas Inteligentes Ejercicios Resueltos at aKademy 2006, I am reposting those ideas here. I hope they are still useful as prior art.

  • Wificast
    Use a wifi (a MIMO mesh network) to build your own TV or radio. No licenses needed. It could be integrated in DVB-T set-top-boxes at a very low cost.

    I started playing with this idea for the first time in late 2003 to replace autoguides and work as a GPS-like device uing low-emitting access points, whenever someone with a wificast-capable device is near the AP, the system is effectively working as a GPS system; read more about it in WifiGas). I even sent an e-mail to Seth Godin and he liked the idea.

    Unfortunately, I never applied for this patent (I did not have the money to pay for the fees and expenses associated with a patent) and now News Corporation has made public they will start to use this technology in 2007 in the USA.Read it.

  • Cremation DNA
    Very simple idea: when someone asks for cremation, store a partially-sequenced DNA. Very useful for post-mortem identification. Read it.
  • Multiplexing CAS and RAS
    Describes how to use base-band codification to improve memory-access times (hardware). Read it.
  • Snapshot System State Management
    Also known as “The Poor Man’s UPS”. Read it.

A few weeks ago Troll Tech released official QtJava bindings under the name of Jambi. With Jambi, you can build native applications for Windows, Unix and MacOS X using Qt and Java. It’s a good idea and a good implementation, although nothing revolutionary, I myself have been successfully using QtRuby bindings for a few months.

But this mad head of mine started to think about the potential of bindings, compilers and code generation.

There are thousands of Qt developers who know the C++ API to Qt very well.

Qt is able to build native applications for many platforms (Windows, Unix and Mac OS X).

There is a number of unofficial Qt bindings (Ruby, Python, Java, Ada, Scheme, etc).

So here comes the idea: Qt-Web bindings/compiler/whatever. How could this mad idea be implemented? I have some ideas.

Keep in mind the point in the Qt-Web idea is not to have the best possible webapp development framework but to take advantage of the horde of Qt-literated people out there. Let me re-phrase that: this idea makes more sense to Troll Tech who be selling more Qt licenses and support contracts, than it makes to web developers.

As I was saying, I have several ideas on how to implement this:

  • Use Jambi to build Java applets. The return of Java applets 10 years later, wooohooo. Horrible, I know. And there is the disadvantage of downloading part of Jambi as needed or get Jambi included in the official Java repository. But that could work.
  • Qt-Flash bindings. You develop your application in ActionScript using Qt and you get a SWF. It would be more or less like the previous approach.
  • Qt-to-Flash compiler. You develop your application in C++, using the very same APIs and tools you use to develop a desktop application and you have a new “make all_flash” target that generates a SWF. 96% of computers have Macromedia Flash installed.
  • Qt-to-AJAX “compiler” (I think “translator” or “generator” would be a more appropiate word). You develop your application in C++, using the very same APIs and tools you use to develop a desktop application and you have a new “make all_ajax” target that generates HTML, CSS and Javascript. Now this has the potential to become Web 3.0: you develop webapps just like you would develop desktop apps!

Dice la SGAE que las ventas de CDs en el top manta están acabando con las ventas legales en tiendas. En el top-manta un CD cuesta 3 euros. A cambio se obtiene un CD grabado, con una funda de plástico cutre y una fotocopia de mala calidad en blanco y negro.

Y digo yo, ¿a nadie se le ha ocurrido aprovecharse de eso legalmente?

En mi opinión, el éxito del top-manta no es tanto el precio (3 EUR) como la penetración: hay vendedores del top manta a docenas, y además siempre están en los lugares en los que más “vulnerables” a la compra somos: paseos, zonas comerciales, zonas de ocio-pubs-y-discotecas, etc. Cuando uno camina por esos lugares, ya anda predispuesto a sacar la cartera y gastarse unos euros. Si va con la novia, más todavía. Y claro, con tanta saturación de manteros exhibiendo discos, la gente acaba picando y comprando. “Compra impulsiva” se llama en la jerga del marketing. Es lo mismo que hacen los supermercados e hipermercados, Wal-Mart incluso tiene una lista de los 200 CDs que en cada momento debe poner para que la gente ejerza su predisposición a la compra impulsiva.

Las discográficas podrían intentar aprovechar esa penetración para vender versiones “recortadas” de los discos. Podrían vender la versión “normalita” de un disco, sin DVDs extras, sin libreto, simplemente con una portada en color, a 5 ó 6 EUR y la gente lo compraría. Los retos a los que se enfrentan para que esto sea posible son una distribución eficiente y gastar menos en publicidad, para que los precios finales puedan ser bajos. Haciendo matemáticas, los números salen: se gana menos por disco, pero se venden más discos. Además, se consigue que la gente compre discos legalmente.

El objetivo último debería ser barrer por completo las mafias que venden los discos ilegales, conseguir que los manteros corten sus lazos con las mafias. A los manteros no les hace ninguna gracia trabajar para las mafias: las mafias juegan sucio (lo de partir piernas no es cosa de películas, pasa en la realidad) y si hay que salir corriendo porque viene la Policia y hay que dejar la manta, hay que pagarle los discos a la mafia. Por poco que se gane vendiendo un disco legal en top manta a 5 EUR, el beneficio es doble: se vende un disco legal, se deja de vender un disco ilegal.

Y cuando digo 5 ó 6 EUR, quiero decir 5 ó 6 EUR, ni un céntimo más. No hagan como los genios de Telefónica, que han decido vender películas para descargar por Internet a 20 EUR por película, en calidad VHS y sin extras.

Obviamente, podría suceder que todo siga como hasta ahora y que la gente siga comprando discos piratas en el top manta, pero creo que poniendo en una balanza lo que se puede perder (unos cuantos millones de euros en el diseño y lanzamiento de la estrategia) y lo que se puede ganar (la continuidad de la industria discográfica tal como la conocemos), el beneficio supera con mucho al riesgo.

El único punto débil de todo este razonamiento es que muchos manteros son inmigrantes ilegales, sin permiso de trabajo ni residencia, así que no podrían conseguir el permiso para la venta ambulante. Estoy seguro, sin embargo, que los abogados de la SGAE, curtidos en mil batallas, sabrían encontrar una solución a ese problema.

Visto que en España la costa mediterránea se termina y que la economía española depende sobremanera de la construcción y el turismo, propongo crear una nueva zona costera: el Mar Interior de España, a imitación del Mar Menor en Murcia (aunque el Mar Menor tiene origen natural).

La idea es muy sencilla: aunque Madrid está en una meseta, en general el interior de España está por debajo del nivel del mar. Además, esas zonas son económicamente menos desarrolladas que las costas (Euskadi, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana), así que sólo hay que comprar algunos miles de hectáreas de tierras, muchas de las cuales están abandonadas o semiabandonadas, y dejar paso al agua.

¿De dónde sacar el agua para este Mar Interior? Del Oceano Atlántico preferiblemente, porque el Mar Mediterráneo se está quedando sin agua, y tampoco es cuestión de acelerar la muerte del Mediterráneo. El lugar más factible por donde abrir la vía de agua es Andalucía, dado que Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias y el País Vasco son zonas montañosas, y no creo que Portugal permita hacer una obra de esta magnitud en su territorio para que luego se beneficie el vecino de al lado (España).

Como consecuencia de la creación del Mar Interior, los madrileños ya no tendrían que ir a veranear a Valencia o Cataluña: ¡Majahonda y Getafe tendrían playa!. Albacete pasaría a ser una isla. Toledo y Segovia, como tienen Patrimonios de la Humanidad, podríamos protegerlos con unas cuantas presas. Cáceres pasaría a ser una zona turística de primer orden, con apartamentos en la playa y todo eso. Transmediterránea tendría que cambiarse el nombre a Transmarítima, para que así le den la concesión del ferry Madrid – Valencia. Lo que ahora son estaciones de servicio en la autovía y la autopista pasarían a ser chiringuitos en la playa. Toda una revolución, oiga.

After reading Penguin.swf, it looks like the reason for Adobe not to open source the Flash Player is third-party codecs (On2, Sorenson, etc).

I’d like to shoot in the air. Maybe I’ll catch a bird.

I guess Flash Player does not re-implement those codecs but uses it as an external library. Therefore, a possible solution would be:

  1. Adobe releases the Flash Player source code that belongs to Adobe, not the third-party libraries. How is this going to benefit Adobe and Flash Player in general? A lot more people would hack in the Flash Player source, improving it.
  2. Adobe defines the API to access and use these third-party libraries or even a general API for codec access. Nobody modifies those source files because if someone breaks that API, Flash would not work with third-party codecs.
  3. Flash Player may be compiled without those third-party libraries. Whenever Flash Player tries to play a Flash movie that needs codec X, it searches the local computer for the codec. If codec X is not installed, Flash Player downloads it from Adobe as a binary. Something like what the Microsoft Windows Media Player does. How is this going to benefit Adobe and Flash Player in general? Whenever Adobe decides On2 VP6 is old and wants to use On2 VP7, no new version of Flash Player is needed: just download the new codec. Using a little part of wine/darwine (just like mplayer does), this method would work in every platform.

In short, what I’m proposing is a limited-capability, full open source Flash Player and third party codecs being downloaded from Adobe as needed. After a couple of movies, everybody would have the codecs they need (unless they choose not to install them, but that’s their option).

Update There was a comment on Reddit saying wine only runs on Linux-x86 and OSX-x86. Wrong. Wine runs at least on Solaris (x86 and Sparc), Linux (x86, Sparc and PowerPC), OSX (PPC and x86) and FreeBSD (at least, x86).