Sunday, September 28

backlog

I finally took the time to go over my photography backlog ...

blackberry flowers

Supper time ...

M&D

Getting Dark

tree on the edge

Thursday, September 25

Wednesday, September 24

Last day in Budapest ...

... Hotel Budapest, that is.

We're still going in office today, still working, but today evening we'll be on the plane back to Cyprus.

It's been nice (with all the tension that being with customers usually brings forth for me): I've actually managed to squeeze some hours of light for myself and took some squirell pictures (of all things).

I will try to process them and post them online in the next few days.

Now, I'm waiting for J to come downstairs, for checout. My luggage is near me (well, my backpack and camera bag), in the hotel lobby, as I'm writing this.

The hotel was very nice and I had the opportunity to enjoy some "bad weather" that I started missing while in Cyprus; actually, it was enough that I no longer miss it :-\.

Other impressions ... other impressions ... the food is similar enough to Romania that it got me to miss it. It's weird: I'm not a patriot in any sense to speak of, but I got a sense of home here that I don't usually get when going in Romania: the climate is similar, the food is ... almost the same, and the air smells like rain; on the other hand, the people seem more open than in Romania. Maybe that's why I enjoyed myself (I find the people I usually meet on the streets in Romania to be usually tense, not smile enough and always focusing on the empty side of the glass).

All that aside, I can't wait to get back to Limassol.

Monday, September 22

On Mind and Suffering

Most human suffering comes from being trapped in the jail of the mind. We are confused by the map and can't find the territory. Like Alzheimer's sufferers, our brains missidentify our surroundings and we become lost and confused. We have concepts that don't fit reality and reality that doesn't fit our concepts. We get further into the soup by trying to explain why the pieces don't fit. Then we make matters worse by trying to get ourselves and others to straighten up and fit in. We end by telling some kind of story that builds a case for ourselves, and trying to put on our best face so we can convince others we are the model for what fits, good and not bad, right and not wrong, capable, adequate to the task and so on.

Brad Blanton, Practicing Radical Honesty

Friday, September 19

traveling again

Well ... I'm traveling again. Tonight I'll be on my way to another country, carrying a ton of hardware with me, to give to a client.

On the good side, I'll be taking my camera along, I'll have a pool in the hotel, and it's a new country to see.

On the ... other side, I might not have time to enjoy the hotel, no time to take pictures and probably not enough time to see the county.

Thursday, September 18

Tuesday, September 9

thinker vs. dreamer

When it comes to knowledge, there are two paths you can take: the one created in ancient Greece, and the one developed in ancient India. That's it. The rest of them, are either derived systems, or similar in nature to one or the other.

The Ancient Greece path to knowledge is the path of the thinker. It is that of logic and measurement, of deduction and step-by-step reasoning. It is about creating a cohesive mental model of the world and "running simulations" inside that model, then, adjusting the model (and deepening understanding).

The Indian school, is that of intuitive knowledge, the path of the dreamer. It is about contemplation and visualization, about looking at things without taking them apart, about sudden flashes of understanding, being in the now; about seeing the flow without interrupting the flow, about dismissing all mental simulations and seeing the world as it really is.

The two schools correspond to the types of knowledge controlled by the two hemispheres of the brain: you have the left-side of the brain, the logical side, and the right side, the intuitive one.

For us Westerners, it's difficult to grasp the oriental path, as our entire education process skips over the capabilities of the right side of the brain. When taught, you are given information, dates, numbers, sentences, the how-to of doing things, methods and rationales.

The intuitive side is completely ignored. You will have a chance to develop your intuitive side if you're arts-oriented as a career, but even then, intuition and intuitive knowledge is not explored as a path to understanding, but merely develops as a side effect.

More than that, some right-sided brain activities are seldom spoken of in polite company. You will get one reaction if you speak of the scientific process and a completely different reaction if you speak of the state of inner peace obtained through deep meditation; if you get to claim that this clearness of mind brings you closer to reality, depending on your audience, you might even find yourself in trouble.

I believe it is very difficult for us ("us" meaning westerners) to understand how far the intuitive mind can go; it is very easy to state that "well ... you can tell if your significant other is cheating on you", or to generalize this kind of statement to affirmations like "intuition is just the mind coming to a conclusion without being consciously aware of all the clues it has available". Unfortunately, that just a rationalization of intuition, and as far as understanding goes, it just scratches the surface.

To understand how deep the intuitive mind can go, one has to actually go with it. We don't do that though. We keep shunning it, dismissing it, even though clues to the abilities of the intuitive mind are there.

Out of the top of my head:

Wade Davis spoke of a people in the Amazon rain-forest, that were locating particular plants, "because the plants told them where they were". We have no idea what that means, but rush to consider such people "primitives".

Meditation has noticeable effects in people suffering from lots of things, from ADHD to epilepsy. It also has effects on attention span, and attention distribution and is among the most useful tools in reducing stress. Efforts to understand what is happening in meditation are being made, but it's a fringe effort, virtually unknown. Meanwhile, the stigma is there.

To pull an Argumentum ad Auctoritatem, here's a quote:

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Albert Einstein


That's all I had to say about it.

For now.

I'll probably say more about it, later.

Monday, September 8

on drm aka spore failed

I've read all kinds of rants online about Digital Rights Management, or DRM for short. Two things I got impressed about regarding this, were a slashdot signature (that said DRM is managing your digital rights in the same way a jail manages your freedom) and the idea that DRM is basically an anti-feature (concept best explained here).
More than that, vendors endorsing it risk burning themselves by quietly selling DRM-embedded products, as potential customers automatically vote against it, with their wallets. You can bet your customers will not make an informed decision, but that only works for short-term gains, as customers have a long memory.

Today it's the first time I've seen an expression of the second part of that, in the amazon comments page for the game Spore; Spore was a much awaited game, promising the kind of game-play change brought forth by Black & White or Doom. Unfortunately, it comes with a DRM saying the game is not yours; you pay 50$ for it, then are allowed to reinstall it three times, before they pull the plug on you.

In short, you RENT it for up to three uses, for 50$. to give a comparison term, I bought The Orange Box online, through Steam, for less. That comprised three games, all of them excellent, that I'm still enjoying. More than that, I've reinstalled my system a few times, and whenever I reinstall Steam, the games are available to me (and already payed for).

On Amazon's page for the game, all comments I've read state clearly that paying 50$ for basically renting the game is not worth it, especially when you have no control over the renting agreement.

There may be comments I haven't read on the site, but still, the message is pretty clear:

EA, stop treating potential customers as pirates!

First, you will loose sales.

Second, locks are there to keep honest people out. Using the DRM conditions you use, is just bringing pain to potential customers.

If you really want to use an online distribution platform, for heaven's sake, use Steam (or something similar).

Third, if you're hell-bent on renting the game instead of selling it, state so clearly on the box.

I'm tired ranting ... back to work :)