I just got this from the ESUG mailing list:
Pharmaceutical wholesale company situated in Prague is expanding it's Smalltalk team and have an open job offer:
Complete development and maintenance of an existing ERP according to user requests starting from request analysis and ending with final testing. ERP is implemented in VisualWorks with Oracle DB beneath. Small team.
Smalltalk (preferably VisualWorks)
Czech language - necessary for communication with users
SQL, Oracle 9 or 10
Unix (AIX, Linux)
for more information mail to email@example.com
Speaking of Prague, I'll be there in early September at the ESUG conference.
Well, the day started out well enough, with 9 holes of golf. It went downhill from there. My car lost a belt, and it's the one that recharges the battery as you drive (among other things). This was bad. Fortunately, I was able to drive it to the mechanic - but not before 3 hours of waiting for AAA, as I thought the battery was dead. I guess the car is sad that it's not going to Florida with us :)
Phil Windley finds that ATM access security can be a bizarre thing:
In Koln, we were in a hurry to get money to catch the train to Munich and the Dresdner Bank was the one closest to the hotel. It is in the latter category, neither my bank card nor my credit card would open the door, even though I was fairly certain that once I was in, either would work in the ATM. I didn't really have time to run around looking for an ATM, so I pulled out my wallet and started trying every card I had. I finally found one that worked: my BYU ID card. I have no idea why it worked and nothing else did.
Fire-breathing partisanship is what we¹ve always done. It's what got us here. Maybe it¹s time to lay down that hatred and back slowly away.
That's just not going to happen. The middle - whether it's IT, partisan politics, or sports - is where ideas go to get crushed. Let me throw it back at Doc - are you ready to take a middle course on net neutrality? How about on Linux?
I rather doubt it. Likewise, people who are political partisans tend to be highly motivated, and highly interested. They are the 1% who actively engage in the game (to pull in what Nick Carr likes to note about participation in any field). The supposedly "reasonable" people in the middle are those who are not actively engaged - pretty much by definition. Pick a field - marketing, software development, politics, what have you: do you really want the people who don't care that much to be in charge? More importantly, do you think they will suddenly engage themselves?
Now this is what I like to see in August:
There are still 9 games left between the Yankees and the Sox, so anything could happen. Thus is a far cry from April though, when things went really wrong in the Bronx. I'm feeling positive about the rest of the season at this point.
James McGovern wants me to address his political post on the middle east:
I will pay $75 if James Robertson can write a 100% positive, thoughtful and most importantly detailed response to this blog entry.
The thing is, this blog is hosted on Cincom's servers, and I use it to do Smalltalk advocacy and IT-related ranting. I don't address partisan/international politics here, for the simple reason that I don't want to imply that I speak for Cincom in that regard. I've toyed with the idea of running a more wide open blog elsewhere, but haven't given in to that temptation.
Bottom line - don't expect non-IT politics here.
I mentioned that I'll be at the ESUG conference in early September - I'll be bringing along my new digital voice recorder too. I have one interview (with a partner) lined up, which I plan to post as a podcast. If you would like to talk about how you use Smalltalk, let me know - I'd be interested in recording a conversation about it.
I'll also be at the Cincom Smalltalk User Conference - we are holding that in Frankfurt, Germany this December - I'll post the location and some more details when I have them.
The LA Smalltalk User's Group is about to meet:
Monday August 14, 2006
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This event repeats on the second Monday of every month.
Event Location: High Tech High, Los Angeles - Meeting Room
Street: 17111 Victory Blvd
City, State, Zip: Lake Balboa, CA, 91406 Map
There is usually an after meeting at Jerry's Deli on Ventura and Petit in Van Nuys that goes on to an indeterminate time.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
SCI FI Wire reports that we have to wait until 2008 for the 6th Harry Potter movie. That's a long time...
While no director has been set and casting has not been confirmed, Warner Brothers has staked out a Nov. 21, 2008--Thanksgiving--release date for its proposed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment in the lucrative franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Boy, this TV contest is pretty harsh to contestants who can't say the tongue twister. Man, that's got to hurt :/
I got some Dolphin-based code from Blaine Buxton that connects Smalltalk to the iPod. I've just gotten it loaded into VW, and posted the "file-in" port - meaning, the code is in the public store (package iPod), but does not work (I've not ported any of the Dolphin specific code yet). I plan to take this forward so that the Enclosure Handler plugin for BottomFeeder can slam stuff straight across.
Yes, the code exists :)
So it turns out that my car's battery is dead, and the belt that runs power from the generator snapped. Ok, that's pretty small beans. Sadly, the Catalytic Convertor's time was up at the same time, so that's a bit more expensive. I'll have the car back tomorrow though.
Baseball has long been a game of numbers, but software has made it possible for managers to immediate access to information of value - information that previous generations of managers only had a feel for. Take the radical shifts you see teams using against power left handed hitters: here's a shot from a NY Times story on the way the Mets stacked the right side of the field for Giambi last July:
That's the second baseman out there in shallow right. Right handed hitters don't see as much of this, since the first baseman has to be near the bag, and the shortstop has a longer throw. teams do similar things against David Ortiz of the Red Sox (who's been a one man wrecking crew this year: 40 home runs, 109 RBIs, and a .290 average). Here's some speculation on what this does to Ortiz (and other left handed power hitters like him):
Short of reviewing every at-bat, it would be impossible to know exactly how many hits players like Ortiz or Giambi have lost or gained from the shift. Ortiz estimated that the shift has robbed him of 40 points on his average. When a reporter who has seen most of his games suggested it was 20, Ortiz said: “I’m hitting. You’re watching.”
The reason we see more of this now (it goes back to the 1920's, when teams shifted for Cy Williams) is the large amount of data that managers can get before a game. Want to know how often a guy like Ortiz hits to right field? Just ask the team's IT guys, and they'll pull it up, updated to the most recent game.
Access to this kind of data is why so many retailers have affinity cards - they want the same kind of research data that the baseball people have. Armed with that kind of information, they can move from mass marketing to more of a one to one model, where they can provide information on products you actually care about at the time you're looking for them. That's why good IT systems still matter - used properly, they can move beyond traditional marketing and it's tremendous waste of time and money.
If it is of any help to the community, I have created several test feeds to do some experimenting.
Trying these out, I have already managed to render my web-based reader account completely unusuable. (Sigh) The risk is very real.
BottomFeeder is utterly immune from this kind of thing. I've got a short screencast below demonstrating that.
Microsoft is turning up the Genuine Advantage heat in the coming months on a couple of fronts. The company is planning to require Genuine Advantage validation of certain "premium" components that are integrated into Windows Vista. It also is planning to target PC makers and systems builders with its anti-piracy message and policies, as opposed to just consumers. Expect Microsoft to talk more specifics on these initiatives some time this fall.
Sounds to me like some of those 10,000 new hires are marketing types who learned their tactics from the RIAA: treat the customer like a criminal. Yeah, there's a plan.
Dave Winer on Wikipedia:
In the web before Wikipedia, every point of view had a chance, but Wikipedia tends toward centralization, toward one or two views prevailing, those that are represented by people who are willing to maintain a presence on Wikipedia. This what I'm not comfortable with.
Well, that's pretty much community behavior in a nutshell. Pick any community, web-based or otherwise. There are always a small number of people who do a disproportionate amount of the work. I read a book about the creation of the OED awhile back, "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary". A huge number of volunteer submissions came from one man - a lunatic being held in an asylum after a murder.
The point isn't that W.C. Minor was a madman - it's that he was one of a handful of volunteers who made a contribution above and beyond anyone else. We see that at Digg, where the top 100 users file 56% of the front page stories. We see it in Wikis, where a small number of people end up doing all the maintenance. It shouldn't be a shock.
Technorati Tags: behavior
The tech-forward crowd finds the idea of distributing CD-ROMs silly. Snarks Techdirt: "A bunch of newspapers have decided that if one bit of old media (newspapers) isn't enough, why not two? That's right, they're going to start shipping CDs with the morning newspaper, sort of like computer magazines from a decade or so ago ... If this content is so valuable, and is going to be viewed on a computer anyway, why not just put it online?" The skepticism is warranted, but it's also worth remembering that most people aren't tech-forward. There can be big rewards for using "old media" as a bridge to "new media," as NetFlix discovered when it used the drab old U.S. Mail as a bridge between its online DVD rental site and the homes of customers - at a time when a lot of Web 1.0 entrepreneurs were losing their shirts (or their investors' shirts) by trying to deliver video over the Net.
Well, NetFlix is a bad example. For one thing, most broadband connections aren't fast enough to support downloading (except for p2p) movies in a reasonable timeframe. Second, the MPAA has worked very hard to make sure that the downloadable model can't work well: can you download bits, burn a DVD, and watch it on your normal DVD player? Probably not, and trying to remove the copy protection violates the DMCA.
The problem with his example is that it doesn't line up. Let's consider CD's with a newspaper though. Say I want to read content from the NY Times. Why wouldn't I just visit their website? The audience that won't visit the website is the same one that won't stick a CD in their computer - probably because they don't have one. The tech snark is correct here: this idea is DOA.
Kevin Burton takes a deeper look at the Technorati numbers, and comes up with some interesting stats on the number of active blogs (as opposed to the raw number of existing blogs - including splogs). He comes down to two interesting conclusions:
- There are something like 1.6M - 6.4M active blogs (active meaning at least a post every other day)
- The number of posts is growing lineraly (not exponentially, as the raw number of blogs is)
Read the whole thing. Good stuff.
It's not your father's GenCon anymore:
In an open letter posted to the BoardgameGeek web site, the chief executive of the Gen Con exhibition said that he will encourage those companies to look at Gen Con as a forum to show their wares.
Huh. I used to go the GenCon, back when it was nearly all D&D type stuff.
I guess if I had been paying more attention, I would have noticed the problem with the exhaust system. The trouble is, it was getting a little noisier as time went by - with the replacement, it's a lot quieter. Now that the engine and catalytic converter have been replaced (the engine went last year), maybe it will be fine for awhile :)
Doc Searls reports on new security rules at the airport:
Something bad happened (they won't tell us), and now the TSA won't let you carry any liquids, gels, pastes or fluids of any kind (pens?) through security checkpoints. Gotta check your medicines, sunblock, water bottels, whatever. This directive went down this morning (it's 4:30am here at Logan in Boston) and has caused a huge backup at the ticket counters and the security checkpoints. I'm sure it's just as bad everywhere, though I haven't looked at any of the news sources yet. (I think I'm at the leading edge of the news, sort of, right here.)
My wife was telling me about it this morning; she watches the morning news as she gets ready for work. She said something about electronics requiring check in; Doc said that seemed to be UK only. I guess I'll find out tomorrow - I'm heading to Florida. If there's any requirement to check laptops, there's going to be chaos - for one thing, they don't survive bag tossing very well. For another thing, they are way too easy to steal out of luggage.
Now all I need is a hurricane to make my travel plans really perk up :/
Technorati Tags: security
With the international news being too exciting for my taste, I needed some good stuff. I watched the Yankees squeak out the end of their game against the White Sox last night, after Johnson carried a no hit bid into the 7th. The win is good news, but so is the loss by the Red Sox - that puts them 4 games back in the loss column - which is starting to matter at this point in the season.
I'll take my good news where I can get it.
They were the end of the line for C-style, static languages. Even Microsoft and Sun realize that now:
With highly expressive syntax that is easy to read, write, and maintain, dynamic programming languages like Python and Ruby are extremely conducive to rapid development. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have observed growing interest in dynamic programming, and plan to integrate more extensive support for dynamic language features in their respective managed language platforms.
Funny how it took them so long to recognize productivity when they see it.
The engineers have updated the email capabilities in VW (this will be part of the winter release of VW), and that means that VW based apps will be able to send emails through services (like GMail) that use TLS. I'm going to take a look at including that in BottomFeeder before the winter, which will likely make building a development image a bit harder. I'm heading out on vacation tomorrow, so I'll be getting to this later in the month.
Sometimes you don't need to look hard for the stupidity - it just comes right at you. Witness this thing of beauty that made the front page of Slashdot. In pointing to another Colbert prank (instead of Wikipedia, he hit on a public "name the bridge" contest), this slipped out:
However, last night Stephen Colbert (of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report") suggested that viewers vote to name the bridge after him. Remembering the effect that a Colbert segment had had on Wikipedia, I visited the voting page (in Hungarian when it works) soon after that and it was completely non-responsive. This morning (8:00 Thursday Pacific time) it is showing a "Horrible exception" and a Jetspeed/tomcat stack trace. " I believe Colbert's straight-talking sensibilities have earned him far more than just a bridge in whatever continent Hungaria is in.
You have to love that last sentence. Geography, anyone?
Technorati Tags: Colbert
Retailers who have been briefed by Microsoft told TWICE the player will offer Wi-Fi capability, but will require that the portable be connected to a PC for the actual purchase of songs. Retailers, who claimed Microsoft remained “fuzzy” on the Zune’s wireless capability, said only that Zune will allow users to bookmark songs that may be shared via Wi-Fi, but that users cannot purchase songs on the go from the Microsoft Zune Web site.
If that's what they are doing, boy do I have criticism. WiFi access, but no buying direct from the device? The whole point would be to not have the blasted thing tethered to a PC. Someone visit Redmond with a tree - I think it's going to take more than a cluestick.
Nick Carr piles on Wikipedia again, after noting the high (in search engine results) responses for various searches:
When critics point out the flaws in Wikipedia, its defenders are quick to respond, "It's only an encyclopedia; you don't use an encyclopedia as your only source." And that used to be true. In fact, after high school few people used encyclopedias at all, at least not regularly. But now, I'm not so sure. I'd wager that a heck of a lot of people searching the web do in fact use Wikipedia as their first and sole source, or at least their major source. (Just because you think people should consult a lot of different information sources doesn't mean that they're actually going to.) As Winer suggests, Wikipedia's dominance over search results may be subtly shifting the nature of the web as an information source, moving it from heterogeneity toward homogeneity. He's right: It is an important, and slippery, subject.
Well, what's his alternative? Something else used to be the #1 response for this search, and now it's Wikipedia. I'd bet that the previous #1 was quietly there for a long time, too - did Nick Carr (or anyone else) notice or care?
Something is always going to be the #1 search. Based on some research I saw awhile back, anything off the first page of the results is effectively invisible, and anything past the first 2 results is nearly so. Which means that for any given topic, the first two results are - for an awful lot of people - "definitive".
What I'd like to know is this: Carr spends an awful lot of his time wringing his hands about the horrors of Wikipedia. What's his solution? In an ideal world, what would he like to see instead? And in that ideal world, how would his solution be better?
It looks like the advertising model for the web has some of the same baked in delusions as the advertising model for TV has: everyone assumes that the numbers mean something so that they can go forward:
Web sites that rely on advertising -- including some the most poplar, such as Google, Yahoo, MySpace and YouTube -- get paid based on the amount of traffic to their site and the number click-throughs on their ads. Without accurate data, advertisers have no idea how much they should be paying.
The only reason the system isn't breaking down, and advertisers aren't pulling out, is because they have no choice but to play. They are taking informed guesses, based on the shoddy statistics available. And Google et al. are using every strategy they can find to deal with this problem.
The introduction of DVRs started to punch holes in the TV nodel - once it became clear that people were skipping ads, the shared delusion got harder to maintain. It's still there; money has not (yet) dropped in TV-land.
In reality, it's questionable whether people ever paid much attention (even more so once the remote came along). Last night I flipped between "Band of Brothers" on the History Channel and the Yankee game on ESPN, changing channels at ad breaks. The same thing happens on the web. Take Salon, which allows you free access if you "watch" an ad. I use Firefox, which has tabs. I hit the ad, then flip to some other page. I go back after I finish, hitting the "enter Salon" link. The advertiser sure isn't getting much from me, even though the ad was delivered.
I suspect that a lot of web ads are "viewed" this way. Which only makes the accuracy of data problem worse. I count as a viewer of the Salon ads (and sometimes, by mistake, as a click through - although I simply close the window/tab in that case). In the grand scheme of things, I don't really see a strategy that deals with this.
After all the news reporting yesterday, I was ready for a nasty bit of waiting in line today - so I arrived here (BWI) about 3 hours early - I normally don't arrive more than an hour ahead of time. I should have done that today. The line to check bags was long, but no longer than normal for summer vacation travel season. The inside security line was just about non-existant, and while there were tons of signs telling me that I couldn't have liquids (what a colossal waste of time that is), there didn't seem to be any extra checks for it.
So anyway, here I am, cooling my heels with almost two hours of dead time in front of me. At least there's WiFi.
The lack of travel woes continues. Our flight from BWI departed on time. At least at BWI, the lines for checking bags were normal, and the security lines were short and quick - of course, I was leaving mid-day, so I missed the normal crush in the early AM and early PM.
There were signs everywhere mentioning the "no liquids" rules, but there weren't any checks that I saw either - other than the X-Rays at security, no one looked in any of my bags or asked me any question. The only annoyance was the return of "take your shoes off" time.
We stopped at Wal-Mart after arriving here in Orlando - the new rules at the airport made it simpler to just buy a few things (like toothpaste) here. We also chewed up some time at the Alamo counter - they wanted to charge me $8 a day to add my wife as a driver. We both have the same insurance carrier, so that seemed kind of stupid to me - I haggled with them (to no avail) - and finally just took the car. That left us nowhere onsite to eat dinner, so off to Denny's it was. One healthy (yeah, right :) ) meal later, and we are back in the room.
At least we got here :)
Live from DisneyWorld, my weekly logs post - something I figured I could do while my wife settled in with unpacking. First up: BottomFeeder downloads, which proceeded at a rate of 193 per day - up from last week. The details:
Those numbers look pretty good to me. On to the HTML pages:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Those IE numbers are getting very close to the Mozilla ones. Looks to me like IE7 is making headway. Finally, the RSS numbers:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||7%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||4%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
Still a lot of variety there. I'm off to the theme parks tomorrow.
Jonathan Schwartz is providing one huge service to the business community at large: he's demonstrating on his blog how transparency actually works (as opposed to how the Sarb/Ox bozos think it works):
If you want evidence that navigating today's business environment requires careful thinking, consider one particularly ironic issue: posting material information about Sun on my blog, including information about our business results, runs the risk of violating something called Regulation Full Disclosure, or Reg FD. The regulation's goal is to ensure broad, non-exclusionary distribution of material information to the investing public. And somehow, my blog isn't deemed to be such a non-exclusionary distribution vehicle (but a press release, or the Wall Street Journal is). Reg FD is something we're going to be discussing with Commissioner Cox at the SEC (whose views seem to parallel ours - the more transparency the better).
I may not agree with certain aspects of Sun's business plan, but I like the way they are trying to do business. It's a whole lot more useful than the pile of manure called Sarbanes/Oxley.
Being the RIAA means always - always - having negative PR events. Here's the current worst example: father dies, so the RIAA gives them 60 days to grieve before they send the lawyers in with their absurd accusations of wrongdoing. I think it's time to give them battle axes and pointed helmets - they fit the role of medievel vikings perfectly.
Rogers Cadenhead has announced the publication of version 2.0.8 of the RSS spec:
The specification has been edited to reflect http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification as the document's permanent URL and RSS-Public as the mailing list where users should post RSS-related questions and comments. No other changes were made.
Will the great and terrible Winer have a meltdown?
While we flew in via Atlanta yesterday, my daughter and I took a few pictures. Some of the cloud shots look pretty neat, with the towering cumulous and sun. The last two in this set are particularly interesting to me - as we flew south, we left the cloudy weather around Atlanta - and we were able to see the edge of the weather system pretty dramatically:
I really like the way those last two look.
We got up late, and just meandered around World Showcase today. It's a nice part of Epcot - kind of like a permanent world's fair. When we passed the French Pavilion, there was a guy doing a show outside - as an assistant handed him chairs, he stacked them and climbed up. Here's a shot of him:
The guy further down is handing a chair up. Here's the guy all the way at the top - the last chair only had three legs:
Then we saw something I haven't seen before (odd, given how many times I've been to the place) - there's a drawbridge over near the Mexican pavilion, and in the mid afternoon they open it up and send in the fireworks ships. Here's a ship with the launchers they use to send some of them up at night:
It was a nice day too - cooler here than it was when I went to Ohio a couple weeks ago to teach a Smalltalk class. Go figure :)
Steve Rubel notes that Google doesn't like being verbed:
The Independent Online reports that Google has fired off a series of legal letters to the media, asking them not to use the name of the company as a verb. This despite the fact that the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's include the search engine as a verb - e.g. "to google."
It's too late for that - it's time to just deal with the reality - they could "google it" :)
Technorati Tags: management
There's a small new display at MGM - "The Making of Narnia". It's pretty neat in the room where they've got the film clips and an animatronic of the White Queen. There's a forest and the lamp post:
We had some rain today (steady - kind of unusual for Orlando at this time of year). Otherwise, it was a good day.
Based on the APIs the site claims to support, it looks like Windows Live Writer should work with Silt. I'll have to download it and see how it goes.
Only in DisneyWorld: on our way out of the Magic Kingdom, my daughter took this snapshot:
Looks like Mickey with a sombrero :)