Monday, November 05, 2007

Why I haven't joined MySpace, Hi5, Facebook, etc.

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I don't use any of the normal social networking sites and I don't think I'll join any in near future. I possibly more or less not definitely reject the idea that I undeniably do or do not say that I'd never join. If that indeed wasn't what my stand isn't. Ok, apart from the dialogs from Shrek, I have a couple of reasons. If you are not happy with my first reason, then read the second which is the main point. I you are not happy about that either, ........... and then they lived happily ever after! :)

First thing, I don't like to share too much personal info including a list of my friends in a place where all people can see. It's may be not much of an issue for some of you, but I'm going to stay slightly paranoid and steer clear. At least you don't think everyone out there is not as sweet as they pretend (same in the real day to day life), ...... or do you? I noticed that some people tend to reveal,... may be a bit too much personal info (including photos) in social networking sites. Some of these might sound like "STALK ME" to certain individuals. I have seen and heard (at least on the Net) some pretty nasty cases about privacy. Thanks to my studies, lately I got to read about (actually research about) two more nasty cases related to two facets of on-line privacy. They are the infamous Shi Tao incident related to Yahoo (more reasons to not like Yahoo, but sadly Yahoo is not alone) and the Amy Boyer incident which ended tragically. No telling what kind of scum gets to see my personal information online, and what kind of nice people too. :)

I might sound too paranoid to some of you, but hey, it's just my 2 cents. I didn't ask you to do the same. :)

Second and the most compelling reason for me is, I don't feel like joining anymore social networks. :) I'm already a member of some tech groups. For example I'm a member of LinuxQuestions.org and of a couple of FOSS related mailing lists. Then I'm a member of deviantART art community too. Add it to my presence in the Blogosphere, I'll have to spend a tad bit more time than I like to manage my online presence. :)

Anyway, it's quite OK to assume that I'd not accept the loads of invitations I receive to join Hi5, Facebook, etc. anytime soon. Thanks you very much, you people (especially Yaj, Prasa, Yash (Yasa), Thiwa, Sibba, Kassa, Lalanka, and the all the others) for sending me invitations. If I decide to sign-up for social networks, you'll be the first to know. There I go..... preaching about privacy and jeopardizing privacy of people who were nice enough to send me invitations. :)
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pirated Software has a Significant Negative Impact on the Local Software Industry?

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Last weekend I came across this interesting article in Sunday Observer, titled "Nine out of 10 computers in Sri Lanka use pirated software". To read it online follow this link and scroll down to the relevant section. The newspaper article is about an IDC study about software piracy. It started like this.

"Nine out of ten computers used in Sri Lanka have pirated software, a global study on software piracy has revealed. Sri Lanka is ranked as the sixth highest country using pirated software in the world and the second in the Asia Pacific region.

These facts were revealed at a seminar on business optimisation with good governance and staying compliant with software asset management, jointly organised by Business Software, Alliance (BSA), Ceylon Chambers of Commerce, ICTA, European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Intellectual Property Office.

The study was conducted by IDC, the IT industry's leading global market research and forecasting firm and the study for the first time covered Sri Lanka in 2006. "

Before I continue on, let me clarify that I do not promote or encourage Software Piracy. So please do not comment about how ethical or legal is pirated Software. I'm just going to point out and muse about a fact included in the article. Again, I have no doubt about the fact that most commercial Software are not affordable to average Sri Lankan PC user. $200 for an OS might me OK in USA, but in SL that's about the monthly salary of a junior executive or so. So please don't try to argue about that with me either. If you are going to say that price is affordable, don't argue either, because I don't like to waste time on a lost cause. :) End of rules and regulations.

One of the peculiar things mentioned in the article is "The software and additional services derive nearly another $1 of channel revenue and most of these additional service or channel revenue goes to local firms. Therefore pirated software has a significant negative impact on the local software industry, BSA said". Earlier in the article it was said "According to the study Sri Lanka has a 90% software piracy rate and the high piracy rate causes a retail revenue cost of US$ 86 million to the Sri Lankan software industry. The broader economic impact of software piracy is significantly greater than the retail value of pirated software"

So does this mean that Sri Lankan (and other) firms are at a mortal (yes mortal) amount of loss or impact because they don't earn from retailing and service providing? The numbers (oh, well everyone knows commercial vendors are good at this number game) seems to imply so.

Poor Microsoft and others (some say MS run the game at BSA, I didn't say so :), if their retailers and service providers are at a this severe lost, just imagine how much they are suffering?

Or............ are they? It's very very true that they are at a lost (in US$ millions). Then again, what about the effect of pirated software having on the software industry as a whole. Yeah, what about it?

People will use pirated software (like in SL). The home user will learn to work on MS Word, office worker will learn to work in MS Excel, university students will learn to program in Visual Studio, tech learners will learn to use SQL Server, IIS, ISA, Exchange etc. To put the icing on the top, they provide free/cheap subscriptions to academia as a goodwill. Great! All in all we'll have HR factor well capable of industry standard software. Isn't that what happens in Sri Lanka? What's wrong with it you might ask.

This is where I show you how deep the rabbit hole can go, to the other side of the paradise. It's like, they'll get you addicted to booze but then you'll have to BYOB. It's like they'll give free puffs, then you'll have to buy tobacco. Sounds familiar or still doesn't make any sense?

Why, the so called industry leader will have a fully grown and operational, healthy Eco system of their software well established for them to exploit. What will the users choose when they have to spend their precious bucks on software for their business? Just think how many companies in SL use commercial software (Eg: .NET based software)? Why did they choose those particular technologies? What were among the most compelling factors? Technological superiority? Unavailability of quality alternatives? Read ahead, don't mind me. I'm just ROTFL.

Then there's FUD too, which I'll not get started now. Just add FUD to the equation and I see the software industry as it is. :) One might claim I'm so paranoid, anti-MS and fundamentalist. Well, I'm so not. Maybe anti-MS :), but certainly not anti-commercial software, I'm just anti-dirty-business-model. If MS's business model happens to be uncannily similar what can I do? :)

Ok, ok, back to the course. I'm not by any means saying that local firms are not loosing a significant amount of revenue due to piracy of software. I'm just saying I can't agree to the fact that the negative impact for them is far more catastrophic than the revenue lost. The impact on the industry would be much worse should they fortify actions against piracy (I believe they should). Since big names have infiltrated the industry with pirated software, the big names will suffer more than the local industry in such a case. So I don't think that these big names have honest intentions to act against piracy at grassroot level. They are leaving the root causes and roots well intact and are beating around the bush, maybe because then they can hunt the rabbits which respond.

There goes my musing. You are welcome to comment, but don't expect me to reply if you are trying to woo me into an argument. I'd rather say vi is better than emacs or vice versa. :)
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My Poetry on deviantART

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Some of you might have been wondering where are all my poems, since I say 'poet' in my profile. Well, my poetry in Sinhala (my 1st language) are with me because I have a tiny idea of publishing a poetry book. So what about my English poetry? Here they are: http://anaron.deviantart.com/

I don't write in English as much as I do in Sinhala, and it's only lately I ventured into letting anyone read my English poetry. However I knew about this great art site called deviantART. It's community of artists and those devoted to art (digital art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, Art prints, etc. So what else? I just created an account (which is for free) and posted some of my old English poems and a couple of new ones. I have to say I was satisfied with their privacy policy and copyright policy, but if you want to join don't take my my word for it, do your own reading.

Well, in deviantART I go by the handle/nickname of Anaron. I wanted to put my real name, but it was not available. So when I had to pick another name for my account, I just used a nick I've used for a while. For Tolkien fans, Anaron associates with the word Sun in Quenya (Anar). I'm not very good with Quenya, but I just coined a new name (wohooo!) to represent my real name which means "the Sun" (when taken 1st and middle names together). Did someone said 'what a geek!'? I'll just pretend that I didn't hear that. :)

That's it. If you'd like to read some of my poetry (English), go to my deviantART gallery. This blog will also list the 5 latest additions to the gallery. If I feel like it, I'll post some here too.
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Friday, November 02, 2007

Back to School

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Well, not exactly. Most of my friends know that I never finished my bachelors. Some of my friends are now doing masters, so I thought that it's high time I finish my bachelors. So now I'm doing the top-up for a BSc (Hons) in Business Computing from University of Wolverhampton, UK. It's an in-country delivery program where lecturers visit us from the Uni. It's a good program and so far I've met a few interesting friends too. And just FYI it's a computer degree, not a management one. Can anyone picture me not doing a computer degree? If you could, you probably don't know me well enough. :)

Nadee always teases me that I could finish my bachelors with our children someday. That picture was not so funny, so I'm keen to finish this on time. For one thing she only entered Uni after I was qualified to do my finals. Now shes in her level 2, while I just started the finals. Hopefully by this time next year I'll be a graduate.
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