Hotmail

In the summer of 1996 hotmail was released to the world and it wasn't much later that I opened my first account there. It was an innovative email platform that promised to liberate people from their ISP provided email. It was one of my first non-ISP provided email addresses and one I still have. Like today, the mid-1990s was an era of walled-gardens, only at the time they weren't called Facebook, twitter or Google, but AOL, Compuserve and loads of local BBSes offered by several small ISPs. Service providers were only beginning to adopt their, still current, position as 'carriers of content and services' not purveyors thereof. And in this environment, hotmail was innovative, in the same way that netflix, skype and all those other unbundled services are innovative for they liberate you from the increasingly threatening grip of ISPs and the few dominant players that keep entering new markets, doing a bad job at it, but winning 'cause their financial prowess kills the competition in the meantime. I used to use my hotmail account quite a bit between 1997 and 1999. I gave up shortly after Microsoft started really changing it --- at the beginning they didn't do much to it; it still ran on FreeBSD and Solaris. By 2001 it had already lost much of its 'innovative' features (and it ran on Windows 2000) and under Microsoft's ownership it stagnated as other services rendered it obsolete. By 2002, my hotmail account was only used for a few quasi-dodgy online merchants to whom I didn't want to give a more 'important' email address and since GMail took the world by storm with its 1GB offer in 2004, I practically stopped using it alltogether. As such it is now full of enough spam to feed the world twice over. And now, Microsoft decided that hotmail is to be no more, replaced by the title of its equally mediocre monstrosity of an email client, Outlook, and revamped to look like an app of their Metro environment. Yet another one of those early, pioneering web brands of the 1990s is, even in name, dead. Ah well, at least we still have Amazon =)

Αστικές δικαιολογίες

Διαβάζω στο podilates.gr σχετικά με την συνάντηση που έκαναν μέλη του site με τον δήμαρχο Αθηναίων, Γιώργο Καμίνη σε συνέχεια επιστολής που του είχαν αποστείλει πριν από μερικούς μήνες. Στο σχετικό post αναγράφονται λεπτομερώς τα θέματα που συζητήθηκαν κατά την συνάντηση αυτή. Είμαι φίλος του ποδηλάτου και αναγνωρίζω πως η Αθήνα είναι μια ιδιαίτερα εχθρική πόλη προς αυτό, όμως αφ’ενός η κρίση, αφ’ετέρου οι ολοένα μεγαλύτερες οργανωμένες προσπάθειες προώθησής του έχει, τα τελευταία χρόνια, αυξήσει το ενδιαφέρον και την χρήση του όχι μόνον ως μέσο αναψυχής αλλά και μεταφοράς. Με ιδιαίτερη θλίψη μου, διαβάζω όμως πως κάποια από τα πιο…

Cube – Cube (2012)

I don’t often write about Greek bands and for good reason. If there is one thing one can write about the rock underground in Greece is that it is unpredictable. Its rare highs exceptional, its frequent lows painful and the uncertainty surrounding the future of a band, person or even a release a dire constant, in this country devoid of the necessary cultural and economic foundations to support musicians (and, arguably, artists in general), unless they fall in that sonically and æsthetically narrow slice that spans everything between contemporary greek-kitsch and the multitude of offsprings of the archetypal oriental-meets-byzantine ‘folk’.…

On the Google IO Keynote

So Android announced Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the next version of the operating system with much awaited performance improvements and some new (marginal) features, available to Galaxy Nexus users in mid-July and the remaining 99% of the Android ecosystem sometime between a year and never. Along with the new version of Android, Google announced several other products and services, including their Nexus 7″ tablet, which I won’t cover in this post. What I am going to focus on is Nexus Q, the first product designed exclusively by Google, a ‘social’ media player that is, intriguingly, manufactured in the U.S and…

The (new) Microsoft Surface

Seeing the Microsoft Surface [really Microsoft? You guys couldn’t find a new, unique name?] Keynote reinforces my belief that the company has long lost the capacity of creating and projecting a genuine, unique and interesting image, products and services. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, it quickly did away with most of the product lines the company was making that weren’t very successful. It ended printers, clones, the Newton and many other products and services and focused on creating a few, exceptional products. In the early 2000s Apple had started gaining mindshare, both in the computing world with OS X…

Η Επικίνδυνη Μυωπία της Δύσης

Από την αρχή της ‘κρίσης’ μέχρι σήμερα, η υπεραπλούστευση των προβλημάτων που μαστίζουν την οικονομία, την Ελλάδα, την Ευρώπη, την Δύση αλλά και τον κόσμο γενικότερα είναι, θαρρώ, θλιβερό χαρακτηριστικό της προσπάθειας αντιμετώπισης της. Η υπεραπλούστευση αυτή τελείται σε πολλαπλά επίπεδα, και καταλήγει, εν διαμέσω λαϊκισμού και μονολιθικών πολωτικών και συχνά αφοριστικών θέσεων στο ευρύ κοινό, συχνά επικαλούμενη τα συναισθήματα και ένστικτα της δικαιοσύνης, πατριωτισμου ή/και εθνικισμού, ανθρωπισμού, ελευθερίας, δημοκρατίας κλπ. Στο ανώτατο εκτελεστικό επίπεδο, αυτό της ΕΕ και των Ευρωπαϊκών κυβερνήσεων που την απαρτίζουν, παρατηρείται μια αμφίσημη θέση που συχνά ταυτίζει (εάν όχι μπερδεύει) το — σαφέστατα υπαρκτό και…