Now Scoble is asking why there aren't search feeds at Google. Dave Winer mentioned this earlier, but in his case, it's because he hates Atom. Mind you, I still think Atom is a waste of time and effort, but that doesn't mean I don't support it in BottomFeeder. I can find search feeds from Google, Amazon, Feedster, Blogdigger, Headline news, NewsTrove, and Yahoo right now. There are likely a bunch of others that I just haven't stumbled on. Some of them are Atom, some of them are RSS. At the end user level, no one cares, since most tools work with either format....
I've done something right - my daughter wants to go to this convention over her birthday weekend (she's turning 11 this year). We went to a day of a similar convention last summer, and she played a game of Puerto Rico at a table with five adults. She did ok - came in a close third in a low scoring game. She liked it when the winner asked the 4th and 5th place finishers "How does it feel to lose to a 10 year old?" So, we are going to go to Timonium in November and play in the PR tourney. It should be a good time.
There's been a lot of buzz lately about podcasting. There's already been backlash, even - complaints about how posting of large media files won't scale, etc. That's not why I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical for time management reasons. In general, I'd much rather read someone's thoughts online than listen to them. Why?
- It takes a lot less time, and I can have music on while I read
- Written thoughts tend to be far more well organized than verbal ones
I can skim a 1000 word essay pretty quickly - it takes a lot more time to listen to the same thing. It also takes more effort on my part. Give me the written word every time - it's like the difference between longhand and typing...
If the Red Sox win, my father will put the "I" in insufferable, that's why :) On the Buckner play in the 1986 Series, I had to prevent him from doing real damage to the TV....
Early in the development of BottomFeeder, there was some issue with file url handling in the (then current) release of VisualWorks. I created a hack work-around for the problem that worked, and then promptly forgot about it. In the interim, the bug in the library has long since been fixed, and my hack has always had problems with relative file urls. This finally caught up with me today when Bob ran into a problem with some scarping code he uses to create feeds for Bf. He not only found the problem, he went ahead and fixed it - and I've got the new code available as an update. Thanks Bob!
The NYC Smalltalk Group is meeting soon:
We are meeting on Wednesday (October 27, 2004). See:
NYC Smalltalk will be meeting on October 27th where we will review VisualWorks Web Tool Kit. Visit our wiki for more detail: http://wiki.nycsmalltalk.org
Our meetings are opened to the general public. Invite a friend.
Ed Foster makes an interesting point about the software industry vis-a-vis the license/ownership question:
If software is actually licensed, not sold, then the customer's right to use it remains despite damaged media, crashed drives, or malfunctioning DRM. If software transactions are actually an ordinary sale of goods (as many legal experts believe, by the way), then customers' fair use rights must remain intact. One way or the other, software publishers at least should be consistent.
I would have to agree with Ed here - we do try to have it both ways in this business. The nastiness over DRM in the music and movie industry is coming from an attempt by the RIAA and the MPAA to institute software style controls over an industry that really hasn't worked that way before. Something for us to chew on, I think...
You may have noticed a problem with accessing this server - the blogs and the NC download application overnight and into this morning. I should really know better than to apply patches just before bedtime by now. Things are back to normal now though - sorry for the downtime.
I have filtering issues on my end - my spam filters catch some stuff they shouldn't. But I have bigger problems with outbound mail. I get mail reporting BottomFeeder bugs from some people, and I simply cannot respond - all my mail bounces with a spam rejection. I'm sending from a comcast.net ISP account, so there's no good reason for that mail to get auto-rejected. If I don't seem responsive, it's likely that your server is bouncing my responses - because I respond pretty much immediately...
Way back when, I ran track and cross country. I used to love cross country - I was never that fast, but I had great endurance and I could beat faster runners if the course was hilly enough. I lost that advantage during track season - the 2 mile was my best event, but a track is very, very flat. I stopped competing after my freshman year of college - I found that I didn't like the team at SUNY Albany as much as I had in high school. That started a long, steady decline in the amount of exercise I got. By this year, I was down to jogging 1 1/2 miles or so 4-5 days a week.
I'm not really sure why - maybe it was boredom with the same old routes - I went out for a longer run about 3 weeks ago. Suddenly, I remembered something I had long since forgotten - the first mile or two are the hardest - after that I get into a "zone", and start to enjoy the run. Over the last few weeks I've built my distances up - I just got done with a 5 1/2 mile jog this afternoon. You know what? I've noticed that I'm not only enjoying the runs, I'm feeling better in general. I'm also starting to look at some of the longer possible loops that I could do from my house, and they don't look out of reach anymore.
I've remembered how much I enjoyed being a distance runner, and it's a good thing.
Tip of the hat to Bob, who's just pointed me to another easy enhancement to BottomFeeder. One issue with VW applications on Windows can be the menu disappearing below the taskbar. Well, as it happens, there's a package in the public store that addresses that problem: Win32TaskbarSupport. All you need to do is load that and menus will adjust themselves based on the taskbar location. It's now available as an update for Bf.
Seems Hilton Hotel chains are using a ISP service by a company called Greentree. They watch the outbound traffic of all guest connected computers. I have had intermittent problems with my connection just locking up. Turns out their monitor watches for too many concurrent connections and when a guest computer appears to be doing something it isn't supposed to it locks the offending MAC address out.
I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with a Greentree technician today and he determined aggreator which I have set to limit 5 total connections at a time was triggering the filter. We then tried the iPodder program and it did the same thing. Needless to say I am not at all happy as making News Aggreator runs is going to prove to be more difficult.
Now, I've never run across this particular issue in a hotel. I could deal with it by forcing BottomFeeder to do sequential (rather than forked) http queries, but it's never come up. What I have had happen was an unfortunate use of permanent redirect. I was staying at a hotel that had daily rates for net access, and you had to verify the use each day. I made the mistake of leaving Bf online overnight. When I got up, Bf had dutifully folllowed the permanent redirect of all my feeds and updated the urls. Argh! I've since learned to have Bf offline overnight at hotels that do the daily charge thing. Had they used a temp redirect, I would have been ok. Live and learn...
Scoble is trying to list (and debunk) the various reasons that managers give when rejecting a request to blog. One thing I've certainly noticed is a lack of awareness. When I speak to groups and ask "how many of you know what a blog is?", the answers are literally all over the map. Some groups it's 90% or more; others it's 1 or 2 at most. There are still a lot of "heads down" development shops that simply don't know about the larger community - whether that community is Smalltalk developers or otherwise. First you have to spread that awareness. IMHO, blogging is still a bleeding edge thing - both in terms of the content creation side and in terms of the content consumption side. Ask a group what RSS/Atom/Syndication is, or what an aggregator is - you may be surprised at the level of knowledge on this...
I'm going to be on Ottawa on November 3rd, and Toronto on November 4th. I'll be speaking about BottomFeeder for the STUGS in both cities, and meeting with a customer in Toronto. I'll be up for dinner and drinks in both places; it sounds like Dave is already setting something up for the 3rd - contact him if you would like to tag along.
We are in the process of locking down the next release - ObjectStudio 7.0 and VisualWorks 7.3. This is a major release for both products - ObjectStudio now fully supports Opentalk, which allows for clean interop between VW and ObjectStudio. That opens up the feature set of VisualWorks to ObjectStudio developers. VisualWorks has received a lot of work as well - a set of WS* tools, additional platform support (Windows CE4, PPC linux), and a lot more. I've got details here, and the product roadmap here. The best way to get the latest information on all this will be at the 2004 Cincom Smalltalk Worldwide Users Conference in Franfurt, Germany. I'll be laying out our roadmap in detail, and many of our engineers will be there to discuss the future of Cincom Smalltalk. See you there!
XML has been the buzzword in the industry for the last few years. I'm starting to really, really wonder why. Take Web Services (please). How is this not a complete redo of CORBA, but using a textual format so as to slow the whole thing down? Heck, the WS* working group has even gotten as bad as the OMG used to be in terms of spewing out specs that no one cares about. Then there are configuration files. Everything needs to be in XML now. Again I ask, why? I have a simple theory about configuration files - they should come in one of two forms:
- Simple data that the user may be expected to hand edit? Use an ini (key=value) style file. Why? Because they are simple, and anyone can figure them out. Hand editing an XML file is just asking for trouble.
- More complex data that will only be changed by the application, or some application provided editor. This should probably be in a binary format so as to discourage hand editing. If the data is in a form that it should only be manipulated by the application, a textual format is the last thing you should be using
This is why I use an ini file for BottomFeeder settings. Knowledgeable users can hand edit the file to tweak settings, and it's obvious what the format is. I use a binary format for the application data - for one thing, it was too big to be optimal XML, and for another - I don't really want anyone trying to hand edit it. More and more, I'm finding that XML is becoming the useless answer to every question...
Looks like the legends of "little people" may hearken back to something real: this piece in the Washington Post has the story:
Scientists have discovered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an isolated island east of the Java Sea -- a prehistoric hunter in a "lost world" of giant lizards and miniature elephants.
These "little people" stood about three feet tall and had heads the size of grapefruit. They co-existed with modern humans for thousands of years yet appear to be more closely akin to a long-extinct human ancestor.
Researchers suspect the earlier ancestor may have migrated to the island and evolved into a smaller dwarf species as it adapted to the island's limited resources. This phenomenon, known as the "island rule" is common in the animal world but had never been seen before in human evolution.
Looks like Morgan Stanley is bullish on RSS:
The Internet has become a leading source for news and information over the past decade, but we believe the emerging acceptance (by users and publishers) of Web content syndication services will drive even broader deeper usage of the Internet as an increasingly relevant news and information medium. We see three factors that are combining to drive momentum:
- rising usage of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) by content providers as a standard distribution platform for online content;
- Ramp in the creation of blogs and other user-generated content; and
- Yahoo!'s easy-to-use integration of RSS feeds (including blogs) that was rolled out in beta to its distribution channel of 25MM+ My Yahoo! users in late September.
individual's "always on" personalized Web page and the need to visit source Web sites to see if new articles have been posted is eliminated. All in, thanks to Yahoo!'s aggregation efforts, users get more information, they get it in a way that is organized / efficient, and their satisfaction rises. And, yes, the stickiness of My Yahoo! rises for its users, creating the potential for new revenue streams 26 1CNext generation content 1D should gain noticeable usage and revenue traction in 2005 26 We believe Internet usage should continue to grow rapidly
Interesting that an investment firm finds blogs and RSS so interesting.
The Red Sox finally did it - they won a World Series. They looked dead after the first three games of the ALCS - then their pitchers came to life, and the Yankees bats went silent. After they took New York apart, I don't think there was any stopping them - they had that crucial confidence that they had lacked for a long, long time. In fact, I suspect that this would have been a much tougher series for them if they hadn't gone through New York first. By slaying that demon, they were filled with confidence and played up to their abilities. Had they gone through the Twins instead, they may have had another round of oddness - instead of Ramirez' errors not amounting to anything, for instance, they might have added up.
No matter though - didn't happen. The upshot is that the Yankees now have real competition
StronglyTyped sketches out an interesting analogy in order to trace his thinking about static and dynamic langues. It's an interesting read:
After picking up several more items I went to check out. I emptied my cart and handed the items to the clerk. She gladly accepted all the items in the various containers and gave me a total. She then asked which form of payment. I selected my Visa card. She then asked me "credit or debit". Credit of course (I don't like paying ATM fees).
Pretty routine huh? We all know it too. It's very intuitive right?
Sounds like a dynamically typed system to me! LOL
Here's the thing. I've been religous about only using statically typed languages. But why? I don't know - I just grew up with it.
Well python has been teaching me to let it go! And you know what - it's not that bad.
Go read the rest; it's pretty good
Things are kind of screwy with my net connection this morning. There are tons of sites I just can't get to - I wanted to read a PR story on Dan Gillmor's site, but it won't load for me. There's a bunch of political sites I normally read that I can't reach. I was interested in Patrick's pointer to YAML, but I can't get there either. Is anyone else having this kind of trouble, or is it just me?
Update: Seems that Comcast mucked up an update of some sort here in Howard County, MD - there are all kinds of DNS resolution issues. Should be a productive day ahead...
Good service is the ultimate in good marketing - it leads to good word of mouth and return business. I've had that for a long time now from a local mechanic - Wheeler's Auto Service in Jessup Maryland. I think we were referred there by word of mouth in the first place, and we've done that kind of referral since. These guys are honest - they always give me the straight scoop, and - when they find things that might need repair - they tell me how critical it is. For instance, I just had gear shift problem repaired, and they found a potential issue with the bearings in the rear wheels. When I told them that I drive 1000 or so miles a year, they told me that I could just let that go for awhile, and get it dealt with later. When they looked at our minivan's erroneous gas tank readings, they warned us that a full fix could get quite pricey, and it might be a lot simpler to just track the mileage on the trip odometer. This is why I keep going back there for service
I had another good experience last week. We had ordered pizzas from Pizzeria Uno in Ellicott City. We ordered from there because my wife happened to be shopping there, and it would be easy for her to pick it up on the way home. When she got here, we found out that they had reversed the order - getting the ingredients backwards. We were short on time (my daughter had events that evening, and my car was in the shop) - I called to complain, and they said that they'd replace both pizzas and refund my money. It was out of my way to go back, but heck - they did the right thing. I grabbed a carry-out menu on my way out, because I'm sure I'll order from there again.
By not trying to extract the maximum dollar for any particular visit, these places have ensured that they'll get repeat business from me - and positive word of mouth. There are plenty of places that are more interested in maximizing the return on each individual transaction, without any thought to future business. Which model works better in the long haul?
I've been on the phone with Comcast all morning. Apparently, they changed out a bunch of equipment overnight, and that's been causing problems here in Howard County. What they told me to do was this - rest my router to factory settings. They figured it would pull the proper IP information after that. The Cable Modem actually gets the IP information iirc, but what the heck - I did it just so that they'd get off that page of the script. Well, as expected, that did nothing. I just got off the phone with a more knowledgeable tech, and he confirmed that my problem is not isolated - they have no idea why resetting the router is working for some people and not for others
The problem is DNS resolution. I can get to the NY Times, but I can't get to Yahoo. If I know the IP address in question, I can ping it. The part that's really screwy is that it's a partial problem - I can see this server, and the Smalltalk site for Cincom - but I can't resolve the main Cincom site. Truly bizarre. This pretty much shoots my productivity to heck, because the mail servers I use are on the list of sites I can't resolve. Arghhh....
Sci Fi Wire reports that Ed Wood's long lost last film has been found:
Necromania, the long-lost final movie of Ed Wood, considered the worst filmmaker of all time, has been rediscovered, the Reuters news service reported. The 1971 movie is a porn film documenting the sexual enlightenment of a young couple at the hands of a coven of witches, the news service reported.
Wood, who created Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space, was the subject of Tim Burton's 1994 film, which starred Johnny Depp as the maligned moviemaker.
Probably not fare for Disney's Sci Fi Dine in Theater :)
If you've been trying to reach me via email since last night, there's a reason I haven't responded - my network troubles are affecting my email access. I can't get to any of the email systems I normally use. In this case, webmail doesn't help either; the servers can't be resolved from here due to whatever crazy DNS/routing issue Comcast has given me. I'll get back to you, but at the moment, I simply can't get the mail at all....
So my network connection has been flaky all day - apparently, the damage has been getting worse all day too - when I first called Comcast, they just ran through their script. Later, there was a message "for residents of Howard County". Later, the message got updated to include about a fourth of the counties in Maryland. Supposedly, Comcast's bright eyed network people pushed through an "upgrade" so that they could offer VOIP.
So I'm stuck with completely flaky service at the moment, and Comcast has no clue when it'll be fixed. Meanwhile, they had their call center monkeys handing out wonderfully useless advice all day. I was asked to:
- Reboot my cable modem (this often does work, but not today)
- Reset my router to factory defaults
- Connect my PC to the cable modem directly, bypassing the router (never mind my multiple systems, or the fact that the modem is in the basement)
- I was told that switching my Linux box from a static IP (behind the router, not live on the net) to a dynamic IP would fix the problem
The suggestions seemed to get more insane as the day went by. I was only just told about the VOIP "upgrade" 10 minutes ago. Now, it seems to me that when you roll through a change that hoses off as large an area as this one did, you ought to have a plan for rollback. Only if you're a sane ISP, I guess. If Verizon ever offers service in my area, I'll have to switch just to encourage Comcast to pay attention...
After my last post (below), my connection returned to normal - maybe 45 minutes after I posted. Figures - just when I had a good, solid rant going :)
It's not the best picture in the world, but it is the view out my office bay window. I get a fairly decent view of the changing colors from here. It's also a cloudy day here - it would have shown up a whole lot better had I done this yesterday when it was sunny.
This is pretty much my favorite time of year. Cross Country was my favorite sports season in high school, and I still love jogging down leaf strewn trails at this time of year. One of the nicer things about Columbia is the system of bike trails we have here (I'd post a link, but I can't get to the association pages at the moment). There are trails wandering through all the neighborhoods - you can get pretty much anywhere in this town on the trail system. At this time of year, the trails are just gorgeous. They tend to run through the woods, and with all the trees changing colors it looks great.
In a few weeks, all the trees will be bare, and all the leaves will be brown. In the meantime, it all looks beautiful
This has to be the worst looking system I've ever heard of - I hope no one actually has to use it. Take a look at that second screen shot, for instance. Phil must be involved, somehow...
My net connection is still flaky. I had good access for awhile last night - my mail finally came in, for instance. This morning, things are squirelly again. Another exciting day in the partially connected world...
I had the weirdest dream last night - the sort of thing that comes up on horror flicks a fair amount, but I had never experienced it myself. I woke up, and realized that the VCR display (the TV and VCR are on a stand next to the bed) was sideways - meaning that somehow, the stand had tipped over. I couldn't get the light to go on, and I couldn't wake my wife up - so I got up to turn the room light on. When I got to that switch, it wouldn't go on either. Which was weird, because there was clearly power. That's when I actually woke up. Bizarre - I've never had that kind of dream where I was sure I was awake before.
We'll have a conference agenda ready to post in a few days - in the meantime, please visit here for information on registration. This event is three days in Frankfurt, Germany - December 7-9. We'll have a lot of the CST engineering staff there, and we'll be providing a roadmap for VisualWorks and ObjectStudio. There will also be a bunch of talks on both products, as well as time to meet with various members of our development staff. Here's a taste of the agenda:
- Building Web Applications in Smalltalk - by Alan Knight, lead developer on the VisualWorks Web Toolkit
- Opentalk for ObjectStudio - by Len Lutomski and Andreas Hiltner. Learn how to use OBjectStudio and VisualWorks together, leveraging the strengths of both products
- The VW DotNet Connect - by Andreas Tönne of Heeg, a Cincom Smalltalk engineering partner
- Agile Development in Smalltalk by Joseph Pelrine, well known Agile developer
- 64 bit support in Cincom Smalltalk, by Eliot Miranda, lead VM architect
- Risk Management at JP Morgan in Smalltalk, by Niall Ross
- Web Development using Seaside - by Avi Bryant (Seaside inventor) and Michel Bany, Cincom consultant
We'll have lots more as well - that's just a small sample of what's in store. I'll have a link to the full agenda as soon as it's ready to post. See you there!
I was stuck on conference calls all afternoon, and my network connection was still flaky. I finally got off the last conf call (at least, the last one before 5:30....) and called Comcast. I ask when my problems should be fixed. They say "It's all better now". I counter with "No, it's not". However, as I'm talking to them, things do in fact improve. Websites are accessible again, I can use VPN, mail seems to be working. Looking at my router, I notice that the primary DNS server has changed. I suspect that the DNS server was the issue in all this. Maybe it'll all hold together next week...
There's some good news about Cincom on the news wire - this will likely only be there a day or two, as they update those pages a lot. I've copied the content below:
CINCINNATI, OH - Cincom Systems, Inc. fueled by recent record-setting financial performances, including:
- Its second most profitable year ever in 2004
- The three most profitable consecutive years in its 36-year history
- Its 19th straight year of generating over $100 million in revenue a feat unparalleled in the software industry except for one other company ... Microsoft®
is hiring and investing in people to pursue its aggressive, long-term global growth strategy.
With over 100 well-paid job openings now approved, Cincom is seeking applicants in virtually all areas of the company, including: sales (pre and post), sales management, marketing, engineering, services, and product management. Plans call for hundreds of additional job openings in the next two years to meet aggressive revenue targets.
Cincom achieved its recent remarkable success during a tough and turbulent economic climate under the leadership of founder Tom Nies, the longest-serving CEO in the computer industry, and once hailed by former President Ronald Reagan as "the epitome of the entrepreneurial spirit of American business."
Giving Forward ... Jobs, Opportunities, Hope
Tom Nies believes strongly in a concept called "Giving Forward," according to Steve Kayser, Cincom's PR Manager. "That means utilizing the entrepreneurial spirit to create innovative products and services that then create jobs to lift the economic well-being of all.
Tom's entrepreneurial job creation "gives (pays) forward" benefits that contribute to the economic and social uplifting of society. True entrepreneurs create jobs, opportunities, and hope. Tom Nies has created more than 10,000 jobs and opportunities. Those jobs and opportunities spin, spiral, soar, and give back to the community and company many times more than ever invested.
This ripple effect benefits us all. These jobs help to provide income that is then used to feed and raise families, provide healthcare and security, buy houses and cars, and pay for college. The greatest "giving back" a successful person can do is to "give forward" by helping to enable, empower, and teach others the skills, traits, and values that have made them successful. The greatest payer-back of society may ultimately be, in the end, the "entrepreneurial job creator who gives forward."
But to what does Mr. Nies attribute the recent successes? One simple rule: "Help our customers grow their businesses faster and more profitably, with far less upfront investment, much less risk and much greater and quicker ROI. Simple rule. But it's worked so well for 36 years, why change now?" says Mr. Nies.>
Cincom, the world's most experienced software company, builds, sells, and supports software for
- data access and integration
- process automation
- manufacturing business solutions
- business communications.
Cincom serves thousands of clients on six continents including BMW, Citibank, Boeing, Northwestern Mutual, Federal Express, Ericsson, Penn State University, Messier-Dowty, Siemens, Rockwell Automation, and Trane.
For more information about Cincom's products and services, contact Cincom at 1-800-2CINCOM (US Only), send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the company's website at www.cincom.com.
About Tom Nies
Tom Nies, the longest-serving CEO in the computer industry (36 years), has the distinction of being featured in the famous Smithsonian Institution, and was recently honored as the 2004 Regional Technology Winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program.
$5 Million for $1?
Tom Nies started Cincom Systems, Inc. in 1968 with $600, a card table, and a dream. He grew it into a global organization that now serves thousands of clients on six continents. The results of that $600 investment? It's generated over $3 billion in revenue, or ... $5 million of revenue for every dollar invested.
Over the last three years, Mr. Nies has led Cincom to its best business performance years ever through some of the most challenging economic conditions since the Great Depression, especially in the technology industry.
First off, have a look at this post below - Cincom is profitable, and has been in business a long time. We are still supporting products that were released back at the founding of the firm. Second, the Smalltalk team is profitable within Cincom, and represents a sizable percentage of Cincom's overall revenues. Third, have a look at our product roadmap - we are moving Cincom Smalltalk aggressively forward in multiple directions - which is quite different than the message you'll get from some of the competition. Is Smalltalk a safe choice? It most certainly is - if you go with a committed vendor!
Dan Fernandez points out just how truly awful candy corn is. I used to dread getting that stuff on Haloween....
BottomFeeder has had a curious bug since the release of 3.7 - sometimes, when selecting an item, it would render twice in the item pane. I spoke to Michael last night, and he diagnosed and fixed the problem. It happens when you scroll an item, and then select a new one. A fix is available in the updates.
LimaCat points to a possibly confusing issue with installing Cincom Smalltalk NC from the CD on Linux/Unix - he had configured things to disallow CD installs for security reasons. So, if you have trouble getting the installer to run from CD on Linux/Unix - check that first.
Knight, who was on the panel to represent an independent view, said: "I would certainly be willing to agree that both Java and Microsoft have both gone off in the wrong direction and to some extent are following each other in circles. But there are positives and negatives. The positive is they are learning from each other and gaining best practices. The negative is they are chasing each others' tails to get feature checklists matched up, regardless of value to developers."
This was good as well:
Meanwhile, Hejlsberg, widely known for his language expertise, having created Turbo Pascal, Delphi and C#, said, "I respect that there's a kernel of simplicity in the Java system that's probably long since been drowned out by lots of libraries" like so many other systems.
The independent minded Knight quipped: "It's interesting they would comment on the simplicity because that's the part I thought was missing."
I guess I'm lazy about the small stuff. The mouse that shipped with my Thinkpad went to hell awhile back - bad tracking, frayed wire... the works. I used the silly G-H thing with the buttons on the laptop for awhile - that got me a sore left hand. So anyway, I was at my local supermarket this morning, walking down the stationary/seasonal isle to fetch my daughter (who was looking over more Halloween stuff). I spotted a cheap mouse with a scroll wheel and picked it up - and wow, what a difference it makes to have smooth cursor movement again. I shouldn't put stuff off like that...
In an article about wineries, Scoble gets into blogs as marketing:
NOT A SINGLE ONE had a weblog. That means they aren't napsterizing their knowledge, sharing it with others, and getting people excited about making a Yakima Valley trip in the future. And there's a lot to be excited about. Yakima Valley is every bit as beautiful as Sonoma Valley in California. And it's a LOT cheaper! A great bottle of Merlot here will cost you $8 to $20. The same quality wine in California will run $20 to $50.
It's also a lot less crowded. Even at Columbia Crest, which is a large commercial winery, we had lots of elbow room at the tasting room and didn't have to wait in line. On some weekends in Sonoma or Napa you have to fight with 30 other people just to get the attention of someone at the tasting room counter.
I told Mike to start a weblog. He didn't know what that was "I'm not a computer expert," he told me. None of the guys I talked to knew anything about blogs and their potential for marketing. So, I'm gonna work with Mike to get something started. Their winery really is special and if you're ever in Yakima, do visit it.
I went into this problem here. One of the things that's very easy to forget is how bleeding edge this blogging thing is. If you are already blogging, you probably use an aggregator. You then find lots of other interesting blogs to read. After a little while, it's easy to start thinking "everyone knows about this". The truth is, it's only just spreading out of the geek realm - the second biggest problem is the natural "it must be hard" idea that non-technical people have about web stuff.
Now, Look at what Scoble had to say about this in a follow on post:
Maryam says that she found the Murder Mystery Dinner on this Wine Yakima Valley site, but she was just surfing around looking for ideas. Five words and a link on a Web page got her to spend $130. "You know what I liked about Mike and Liz," Maryam just told me, "they are really generous."
Just think about the ROI of those five words. Where's the RSS feed? We're planning on going back for Thanksgiving. But they don't want us to have a permanent marketing relationship with them. That's lame, but common.
It's not that they don't want a permanent marketing relationship with you - it's that they have no idea what RSS is, or why it should be of interest to them. There's definitely a small-medium business market opportunity here...
Here's the product roadmap for Cincom Smalltalk. The next release is nearly ready - it will be shipping before the end of this month. We (the Cincom Smalltalk team) are going to have a planning meeting in January, after the holiday season is over. So... now is the best time to give us feedback on that roadmap. Are we doing the right things? What about our emphasis - should we be doing more in one area and less in another? This is the kind of feedback we'll be looking for at the December Worldwide Users Conference - please attend and tell us in person! Failing that, send me mail or add a comment to this item.
It's a sure sign that this industry moves forward a lot more slowly than people like to think - The Mythical Man Month was republished (as a 20 year anniversary edition) in 1995. It's still filled with relevant information. I'm sure that Fred Brooks gives the PHB (in Dilbert) a knowing chuckle each morning....
Last week, I added a few links to the "menu" on this blog - look over to the right, under the Information label:
- Migrate to Cincom Smalltalk - why you should consider moving from other Smalltalk implementations to Cincom Smalltalk
- XP In Smalltalk - Explains how XP and agile development works in Smalltalk - and why it's better
- Wikis and Blogs - wondering what wikis and blogs are, and how they differ? Read this
- The Cincom Smalltalk Product Roadmap - a powerpoint presentation on our direction. You can find an HTML page on this here
If you are looking for some of my technical articles on Cincom Smalltalk, follow this link for a list.
We had a Halloween party 2 nights ago - it's an annual tradition at our house. We had a good time - way too much food, and some fun party games - a good time was had by all. I've got some pictures - not great quality, I took them with my camera phone:
The Red Queen (Off with their heads!)
A Halloween Princess
A holiday Vampire visits
The non-costume costume
At least the wheat tends to separate itself from the chaff in Smalltalk-ville. Have a look at this marvel and weep. Even I know more C# than that :)
Cincom Smalltalk User Conference 2004
7th December 2004
|11:00 - 11:15||
|11:15 - 12:00||
|12:00 - 13:00||
|13:00 - 14:00||
|14:00 - 14:45||
|14:45 - 15:30||
|15:30 - 16:00||
|16:00 - 16:45||
|16:45 - 17:30||
|17:30 - 18:00||
8th December 2004
9th December 2004
|08:30 - 09:15||
|09:15 - 10:00||
|10:00 - 10:30||
|10:30 - 11:30||
|11:30 - 12:30||
During the conference there will be the opportunity to Meet the Experts in a seperate room to discuss the presented items - or other - more in detail.
In the Customer Advisory Board sessions you'll have the opportunity to tell in public our product, support and engineering management what you think we should add or enhance in our product and services offering to meet your specific needs. This information will flow into our plannings for the further direction of Cincom Smalltalk.
We will not only serve food for the brain: during the Coffee Breaks you'll get refreshments and we'll invite you to Lunch and Dinner. During these times you'll have the opportunity to talk to Cincomers in a relaxed casual athmosphere. And of course you'll be able to exchange your experiences, opinions, questions and solutions also with other users of Cincom Smalltalk.
|Cincom Smalltalk general|
|Cincom Smalltalk ObjectStudio|
|Cincom Smalltalk VisualWorks|
|Topics of general interest|
Cincom and Cincom Smalltalk: Commitment
and Progress, Dave Wood (Cincom
In his presentation Dave Wood, Managing Director of Cincom EMEA, will present the history of the company Cincom and our mission and business ethics. While our whole industry has been suffering from the burst of the ".com bubble" and the various incidents of world wide politics and economics Cincom and Cincom users have been able to continously draw increased benefits from Cincom's High Value, Low Cost, Rapid ROI and Low Risk solutions. Dave Wood will describe Cincom's market strategy and which important role Cincom Smalltalk plays in Cincom's offering portfolio.
Cincom Smalltalk Product Roadmap,
R. Robertson (Cincom
I'll be talking about the roadmap for Cincom Smalltalk - where we are, what we are working on, and what we plan to support in the near-medium term.
Building Web Applications in Smalltalk,
Knight (Cincom Systems)
The VisualWorks Web Toolkit is a standards-based mechanism for building and serving web applications. Implementing mechanisms compatible with servlets,
ASP, and JSP, it makes it easy to build scalable web applications leveraging standard industry patterns, and in ways compatible with other servers. This talk will describe the basic architecture of the Web Toolkit, and some tips for working successfully with it, recent additions, and future plans.
ObjectStudio Opentalk, Len
Lutomski (Cincom Systems),
Hiltner (Cincom Systems)
VisualWorks and ObjectStudio each have their own advantages, but until now it has been difficult to use them together. That has changed. Cincom has ported Opentalk-STST, VisualWorks' Smalltalk-to-Smalltalk communication framework to ObjectStudio. Now, the two dialects of Cincom Smalltalk can interoperate. This presentation introduces Opentalk-STST and the ObjectStudio port, provides a quick Opentalk-STST tutorial, and discusses the things you need to keep in mind when interoperating across Smalltalk dialects.
The VM Plugin Framework for VisualWorks,
The VM Plugin framework is used to develop higher-performance C implementations of algorithms or code sections for use as primitives dynamically loaded into the virtual machine. The major part of the development effort is in working at Smalltalk level coding to create all the methods that are finally exported as a C code file for compilation as a dll and relinking.
ObjectStudio on the Web using Opentalk and Web
Toolkit, Mark Grinnell (Cincom
Systems), Andreas Hiltner (Cincom
Alan Knight (Cincom
Systems), Len Lutomski (Cincom
The ability of ObjectStudio and VisualWorks to interoperate over Opentalk gives ObjectStudio users access to the whole range of web capabilities in VisualWorks. The possibilities range from giving an ObjectStudio application access to corporate data provided over web protocols, to providing Windows native widget clients for VisualWorks applications. In this presentation we demonstrate the design and the mechanics of a sample application which uses ObjectStudio and VisualWorks, interoperating over Opentalk-STST, to put an ObjectStudio application interface on the Web.
VisualWorks DotNetConnect: Bridging worlds,
Tönne (Georg Heeg eK)
.NET is one of the emerging technologies that Smalltalk developers cannot ignore. Integrating Smalltalk applications with .NET-components will be a regular requirement in projects. The new VisualWorks component DotNetConnect allows a VisualWorks application to import .NET-Assemblies and use the contained types as Smalltalk classes in a transparent way. The talk shows on a small example how simple it is to use .NET-Assemblies even without knowing much about .NET itself. We also show the practical limitations and the future direction of development. DotNetConnect was developed for Cincom by Georg Heeg eK.
Next-Generation Database Mapping and Dialect
Interoperability, Alan Knight (Cincom
Smalltalk has long been a leader in storing objects in databases. For relational databases, Object Studio's POF, and the VisualWorks ObjectLens were very early examples that were also very powerful and still in active use today. This talk describes efforts towards a next-generation database mapping library that can preserve high-level compatibility with these older systems, while greatly expanding on their capabilities. The core mapping engine for this is the open source GLORP library, which is portable across Smalltalk dialects. One of the things we have done is to map the Store database schema using this library. This enables a variety of tools which can work with Store data directly from other dialects, including Squeak, VisualAge, and ObjectStudio. We hope that this can serve as a mechanism for interoperability between dialects.
Support to the Rescue...oops... Resolution,
Thomas (Cincom Systems)
This talk will cover
What's going on with my case?
1. Cincom's support response process.
2. Support levels and severity levels
3. Resource infrastructure
What's new about support?
1. Publishing resolutions
2. Cincom Smalltalk Customer news group as a support avenue
3. More information sharing, i.e. e-mail announcements on available resolutions
4. Past staff expansion and development
What the future holds
1. Continuing to develop the support organization
a. Identify areas of expertise
b. Continue certificaton process
c. Development related activities
2. Reduce time to respond
3. Reduce time to resolution
Agile Project Management using SCRUM, Joseph
Pelrine (MetaProg GmbH)
Agile software development methodlogies, XP being the most known one, are becoming more and more accepted. They take the different nature of software seriously and help delivering usable software to the needs of the customer on time and on budget. At the same time agile methodlogies minimize the risks and even if a project should be stopped for whatever reason the customer has not wasted his investment but owns a working system which operates to his specification up that time. But how would one control and manage projects using such methodlogies? In deed classical project management has typically still the "waterfall" in mind and isn't well suited at all. SCRUM is a proven project management methodlogy that fits nicely with agile processes - especially XP. We will show and explain the underlying principles and report from real life projects.
XPerience eXtreme Programming, Joseph
Pelrine (MetaProg GmbH)
eXtreme Programming - the most widely known agile software development methodology - consists of a set of best practices that mutually support each other to reach the goal of a user centric reactive and lean development process. This talk will give an overview about these best practices and how they are supported in the IDE of Cincom Smalltalk VisualWorks. In a life demo it will especially be shown how easy and efficient it is to conduct the "test first" paradigm with the current SUnit implementation in the tool set.
Tips and Tricks for developing GUIs in ObjectStudio,
Maydanik (Cincom Systems)
In my talk I will give you an overview about the current and upcoming features of the ObjectStudio GUI system. Especially you will hear - and see - about:
- what was fixed
- what is new
- how to use new features
- what you should and what you shouldn't do - and why!
- how to customize the default behavior of widgets
VisualWorks Tools and Pollock, Vassili
Bykov (Cincom Systems)
Pollock is the new VisualWorks widget set, which recently has reached the Feature Set 1 stage. The most important widgets are implemented, though both interfaces and implementation are still being cleaned up, and no visual GUI builder is included. This presentation will outline the future path in making Pollock the default VisualWorks widget set and developing VisualWorks tools, as well as demonstrate both building applications using Pollock in its present state and various interesting features of the current VisualWorks tool set.
Multithreading in ObjectStudio,
Hiltner (Cincom Systems)
We will discuss the design and implementation of multithreading in ObjectStudio. We will discuss some common situations where a multithreaded approach could improve an application, using examples of how to modify existing code to use a separate thread. We will explain the particular issues involved with doing GUI programming with threads, and accessing databases with threads.
Never mind the quality, feel the width!
64-bits and beyond...,
Eliot Miranda (Cincom
Eliot will demo the new 64-bit implementation of VisualWorks and describe its key features, both existing and planned. He will also give brief overviews of some short to medium-term directions for VisualWorks such as AOStA, an adaptive optimization framework for VisualWorks and the Smalltalk Runtime Environment, a "scripting" focus.
The Future of ObjectStudio, Mark
Grinnell (Cincom Systems),
Hiltner (Cincom Systems),
Nowak (Cincom Systems)
Our research into possibilities for a next generation ObjectStudio has opened two major roads to the future: a radical approach by fitting ObjectStudio into Microsoft's .NET framework. Or a more evolutionary approach by continuing to enhance the current technology to gain more performance and robustness and at the same time increasing the collaboration with VisualWorks to make the server features of VisualWorks even more easily accessible from ObjectStudio. We will present the current state of the art of our research on this topic. Either way we go we are committed to implement your needs and keep any impact on your business as minimal as possible. We will be interested in your feedback.
ObjectStudio Unicode, Alexander
Augustin (Georg Heeg eK)
ObjectStudio up to version 6.9.1 supports two eight bit character sets of the underlying Windows operating system: the default OEM and Windows character sets. In Western Europe these two character sets are Codepage 850 and Codepage 1252. Neither character set is capable of representing Cyrillic, Greek, Japanese or Chinese characters. Not even Czech characters like ? or Polish characters like ? can be represented. With the enlargement of the European Union and with companies acting globally ObjectStudio customers require support world wide languages. Following both international standards and Microsoft's direction Unicode support is the decision of choice.
ObjectStudio Unicode is a complete ObjectStudio development and execution System which uses Unicode characters instead of eight bit characters internally as well as for input and output including database and file access, user input and display output. This includes support for all European languages as well as for Asian languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
The presentation will deal with the differences between the Unicode and the non-Unicode versions of ObjectStudio as well as show additional features in the Unicode version and will give some examples on how the new features can be used.
The Value of Smalltalk: valuing and risk management
in Smalltalk, Niall Ross
The Kapital system is key to JPMorgan Chase' leading position in the derivatives market (http://www.cincom.com/pdf/CS040819-1.pdf). Niall will present some specific examples of how features of Smalltalk feed into capabilities of the Kapital system that give business advantage.
Save your Investment: Re-Architecting
existing Applications for SOA, Helge Nowak (Cincom
Michel Bany (Cincom
A common pattern we meet in customer situations is that they have existing applications and someone (typical a manager...) wants "a Web solution" or "Web Services". Not only in the minds of non-technical people but indeed in reality there is a lot of business potential associated with these new architectures. So these are serious wishes. Is this the time to adopt a new technology? Ask yourself: what would I gain? What would I lose? Looking closer you'll see: you would gain costs and risks. And you lose the investment already made into your existing systems.
Isn't there a better way? We will show that you can save your investment. We will show that you can leverage the existing knowledge and expertise of your developers in both the technology and your business processes to adopt the new architectures. We will show that you can exploit the benefits from moving to these architectures much more rapidly and with much less risk.
The talk will explain the fundamental differences between the various software architectures from fat (or rich?) client to Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). We will depict how you can go a straight and even route from where you are to where you want to be. Don't worry, be happy: you got Cincom Smnalltalk!
VisualWaf: Web application development in
the MVC style, Andreas Tönne (Georg
We show how to develop web applications easily with VisualWaf. VisualWaf is an add-on for the WebToolkit with a powerful abstraction of Web idiosyncrasies but without breaking with the Web style of thinking in sites, pages and requests. It centers around a translation of the MVC-pattern to Web applications. This puts the Smalltalk programmer in the position to program like he would for a GUI application but still he can collaborate with Web-designers in the way they expect it. VisualWaf is used for years by Georg Heeg eK as a consulting tool in several customer projects in the banking, insurance and engineering domain. It is now marketed as a product.
Reusable Web Development With Seaside,
Bryant (beta4 productions), Michel
Bany (Cincom Systems)
Seaside is a web application framework available for VisualWorks Smalltalk. Featured in keynote presentations at both Smalltalk Solutions and the ESUG conference this year, Seaside has been praised for its innovative, radically object oriented approach to web development. This talk will focus on how Seaside leverages Smalltalk's strengths to enable a level of reusability and maintainability in web applications that simply isn't possible using other technologies. We will also demonstrate Seaside's strong, unique integration with the VisualWorks development environment.
Alexander Augustin, Consultant, Georg
Heeg eK, Germany
Alexander Augustin is working as a software engineer at Georg Heeg eK. He is the author of ObjectStudio Unicode. Additionally he has the taken over the responsibility of VisualWorks COM Connect. Both, ObjectStudio Unicode and the new COM Connect will ship with Cincom Smalltalk 2004 available in December 2004.
Michel Bany, Senior Consultant, Cincom
Michel Bany is a technology consultant working for Cincom at the Geneva office in Switzerland. Over the last 30 years he has helped many customers to use Cincom technology like databases, transaction servers, programming languages mainly on IBM mainframes to build successful solutions in various business areas like manufacturing, banking, insurance, retail, government. He has been interested in Smalltalk since '90 and became a Smalltalk consultant when Cincom acquired ObjectStudio in '95. He is the main maintainer of the Cincom Smalltalk ObjectStudio wiki where he contributed many goodies. He is the maintainer of the Seaside port for Cincom Smalltalk VisualWorks.
Avi Bryant, Senior Consultant, beta4
Avi Bryant is an independent consultant currently living in the Netherlands. He is best known as the author and maintainer of widely used open source version control, web development, and database access tools for Squeak Smalltalk. He has helped his customers to use Smalltalk, Seaside, and Squeak to build successful solutions for the travel and theatre industries, higher education, and mobile devices. Avi previously worked as a developer and research assistant for the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Vassili Bykov, VisualWorks Lead Engineer, Cincom
Vassili Bykov is the VisualWorks Tools project lead, and a VisualWorks user since version 1.0. After joining Cincom in July 2000 he has been responsible for modernizing the look and feel of VisualWorks environment. His interests range from information and graphic design to programming language implementation, and he searches for balance between them in his current position. Prior to this, Vassili was an object technology instructor with The Object People and a member of TopLink/Smalltalk team.
Hans-Peter Fichtner, General Manager, Koramis GmbH & Co.KG, Germany
Mark Grinnell, ObjectStudio Lead Engineer, Cincom Systems, USA
Andreas Hiltner, ObjectStudio Lead Engineer, Cincom
Andreas Hiltner is a lead software engineer for Cincom Smalltalk ObjectStudio. He works for Cincom since '97. Prior to joining Cincom he participated in development and maintenance of a transaction-monitor and database access system on various platforms.
Alan Knight, VisualWorks Lead Engineer, Cincom
Alan Knight is a lead software engineer at Cincom Systems of Canada, and one of the prinicpal developers of the Web Toolkit. He has been with Cincom since 2000. Prior to joining Cincom, he was Chief Architect for TOPLink, an object-relational mapping library that has since been acquired by Oracle, and was a member of the EJB 2.0 and JDO expert groups. He is co-author of Mastering ENVY/Developer (Cambridge, 2001) and has written and spoken extensively on a variety of topics. He was recently program chair of Smalltalk Solutions 2004.
Sudhakar Krishnamachari, VisualWorks Engineer, Cincom
Sudhakar Krishnamachari is currently a Software Services Project Leader (Smalltalk), with Cincom Systems India Pvt. Ltd. He has worked with the Cincom Smalltalk Supports division prior to this for nearly a year. He has also worked with ACA-Europe a French CAD firm as a Manager (Specs and Testing) and handled development project team in C/C++ /VC++.
Born in '67,in India, he is a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was a practicing architect for nearly a decade, with experience in CAD, animation and development of office automation tools, prior to the shift into software development. He strives to contribute very actively to the spread of Smalltalk.
Len Lutomski, VisualWorks Lead Engineer, Cincom
Len came to Smalltalk from Lisp. He began programming in Smalltalk in the mid-1980s, working on a port of Smalltalk-80 to the 286. He now manages the VisualWorks Protocol and Distribution Team.
Eduard Maydanik, ObjectStudio Engineer, Cincom
Eduard Maydanik is a software engineer for Cincom Smalltalk ObjectStudio specializing on the further development of the ObjectStudio GUI system. He started to work for Cincom in '97. Before he joined the development group he was a QA engineer responsible for developing automatic test suites for GUI and base classes. Prior to work for Cincom he worked most of the time for programming geo-data information systems.
Eliot Miranda, VisualWorks Virtual Machine Lead
Engineer, Cincom Systems,
Eliot has been implementing Smalltalk virtual machines for over 20 years. He's been a member of the VisualWorks engineering team since April '95, becomming technical lead in '97. He designed and implemented a number of key VisualWorks features such as the threaded interconnect, immutability, and the 64boit implementation, and has helped the VisualWorks market grow through efforts such as introducing VisualWorks Non-Commercial. He has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of York and is a member of the ACM.
Helge Nowak, Technical Account Manager, Cincom
Helge Nowak is as Technical Account Manager the interface from the technical side to all who are interested in Cincom Smalltalk. Apart from consulting prospects and customers about what they can achieve with Cincom Smalltalk he is the primary channel for his customers to product, support and engineering management. He got infected by Smalltalk in '97 at ParcPlace/ObjectShare where he served as Manager of the European Support Center and as a Business Development Manager. Prior to that he gained experience in several positions at the vendor-customer interface - on both the vendor and the customer side.
Joseph Pelrine, Consultant and XP Guru, MetaProg
MetaProg is dedicated to improving the quality of software by improving the quality of the development process. We do this by combining the latest and best technology with years of experience in proven techniques. A 15-year perfect track record of delivering customers the software they want, on-time, in-budget, and on-spec shows that that we don't just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.
Joseph Pelrine, is an agile pioneer, one of Europe's leading XP experts, and is Europe's first Certified ScrumMaster Practitioner and Trainer. A member of the International Assocation of Facilitators, he concentrates not only on the technical side of software development, but also on the "people" side, working at enabling customers, managers and developers to comminucate more easily and clearly with each other.
James R. Robertson, Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager,
As Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager, I am responsible for working with sales, engineering and marketing to drive the direction of VisualWorks and ObjectStudio. I got started in Smalltalk quite by accident in '93
the time. Booz-Allen had a training contract with ParcPlace, but had lost both of their instructors. I got picked because I had some teaching experience
no training experience, but some (about a year) Smalltalk experience, figuring that the two of us would figure it out.
I spent 9 months teaching for Booz Allen, but got lured over to ParcPlace
I spent almost two years teaching the intro class before I moved into sales
along, retaining my role as a sales engineer. After about a year, I moved up to Product Management, which is where I still am.
Kim Thomas, Cincom Smalltalk Support Manager, Cincom
Kim Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science, Management Information Systems degree. She joined Cincom in '94 as a project leader in the Professional Services group. Since '97, Kim has been involved with ObjectStudio as a trainer and a developer. She is currently an engineering manager who is responsibile for Smalltalk Support for both VisualWorks and ObjectStudio along with quality assurance responsibilities.
Andreas Tönne, Senior Consultant, Georg
Heeg eK, Germany
Andreas Tönne holds a diploma in computer science (University of Dortmund) and a minor degree in economics. His first full body contact with Smalltalk was in a cold computer room of the department for cs where a friend sat in front of a graphics display, apparently painting rectangles and text on the screen with the use of a mouse. That was '86 and since then he has learned that Smalltalk is a bit more than just painting and moving rectangles. Still as a student he helped Georg Heeg with the Atari ST port of Smalltalk-80 2.3 and other projects, followed by a diploma thesis in Smalltalk. After a few years as a researcher in logic of programming languages and type theory at the Max-Planck-Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken he again joined Georg Heeg eK, first as a consultant and later as manager. Today he is 'Prokurist' and managing the Dortmund office, consulting projects, product development and a few more things.
Dave Wood, Managing Director EMEA, Cincom
Well, it's been a long and winding campaign season - I'm extremely glad that it's winding down. Contrary to the "conventional wisdom", I expect that we'll have a clear winner by the end of the day tomorrow; elections like the 2000 one are extremely rare in the US (the last one was in 1876). I certainly hope it's all resolved as it normally is - I'm heading out for two speaking engagements on November 3rd and 4th:
- November 3rd - The Ottawa STUG
- November 4th - The Toronto STUG
I'll be talking about BottomFeeder implementation details, and fielding whatever questions come up. In the meantime, here's hoping that we have a nice, peaceful, normal election. I also have a contrarian tip - if you are still undecided at this point: Please Don't Vote. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, there's a pretty clear set of differences between the two major candidates, and a large variety of third party candidates for "message sending".