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 :)
Boris tells us that there's a Smalltalk meetup this Friday in Vancouver:
What: Informal Seaside/Squeak/VisualWorks/Smalltalk Meet Up
When: This Friday , August 18, 2006 @ 6:00PM PST
Where: Stamp’s Landing Neighborhood Pub - 610 Stamps Landing, Vancouver, BC
Looks like fun. I'll still be Disney-ing then :)
Likewise, many folks feel that Smalltalk is either irrelevant or don't even understand its value proposition. It would be wonderful for James Robertson to share his thinking towards why folks should still care about the language.
I've made that post more than once :) The bottom line seems to be this: most people simply don't believe the productivity claims. Here's an example that shows what you can do when the library designers don't have asinine ideas like "final" declarations. Here's a walk through of how you can debug a Smalltalk web app - somewhat simpler than the asp/jsp model, I think.
The main thing is this: In Smalltalk, the runtime is never closed off - you can keep your application open for ongoing development. I did this with BottomFeeder; I can open a workspace and a browser right in the runtime. I can write scripts against the application easily that way. What if I want information for which there's no easy to access GUI interface? Simple: I just open the workspace and script something, as I demonstrated here.
In more "normal" situations, Smalltalk just makes your life simpler. Have a look at Cees' post: Java (and similarly, the MS languages) just get in your way. You're coding to make the compiler happy rather than to solve an actual problem. Remember what you job is: it's to solve actual problems. Why should you invest the extra hours required to make some compiler developer in California (or Washington) happy?
Now, as I said last night, a lot of people will scoff at Cees' example, saying that he was trying to code in Smalltalk while using Java. To wit:
I am the kind of programmer that thinks that “if” statements should be avoided, and if I repeat an “if” in every method in a class, my refactoring alarm starts to go off. Now, in Smalltalk, this would have a simple solution:doSomething: key with: ... ^self withAuthentication: key do: [...]. withAuthentication: key do: aBlock ^(self authenticate: key) ifTrue: aBlock ifFalse: [Result newWithMessage: 'authentication failed']
A complete no-brainer with mostly similar solutions in Python, Perl and Ruby (to name some other dynamic languages).
I will spare you the code, but my first attempt was to use an anonymous inner class as a work-around for Java’s lack of closures. The result was much worse than the original code, enough to dub Java “LISB” (Lots of Irritating Stupid Braces). I got rid of the “if” statement, but at a price I was not willing to pay.
Note that he mentions that this is a no brainer using other dynamic languages (meaning: the power here is not limited to Smalltalk). It's only in the handcuff languages that you end up doing the extra code dance.
Ruby is gaining adherents because of this - and we are seeing a small, but measurable, increase in the interest in Smalltalk. People looking at Ruby are naturally inclined to have a look at Smalltalk as well. You could give it a whirl yourself - and feel free to send comments my way, either here or by email.
I'll add a small note about comments - part of my spam blocking efforts involve automatically turning comments off after a post leaves the front page. So if you see this post after that happens, you won't be able to add a comment.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Ahh, standards. I downloaded Windows Live Editor, and tried to hook it up to my blog via the MetaWebLog API. Ecto works using that, w.bloggar works using that, BlogJet works using that. Live Editor tells me that it gets an invalid response from the getCategories API. The problem is almost certainly not Microsoft's editor - it's probably another error due to Dave Winer's complete inability to create a spec. I've posted on this topic before; I won't be able to address this until I go home, and can try it against my test server.
And people wonder why Atom is catching on...
Technorati Tags: stupidity
Rogers Cadenhead explains why moderation of blog comments is not censorship:
After a decade of publishing on the web, I finally reached my fuck-that moment regarding censorship a few months ago. Someone else can carry the First Amendment flag. The speech here isn't free to me -- it's $225 a month plus labor. Telling someone you have a right to free speech on their site is like walking into their house and demanding a ham sandwich.
That exactly correct. I moderate the blogs here, since they are hosted on Cincom hardware. Rogers is paying for his hosting directly, so - as he says - complaints about censorship are like waltzing into a house and demanding a soapbox.
If the government censors you, it's censorship. If you get moderated off on a private blog, it's not.
Rogers Cadenhead has the details on Dell's battery recall. As they noted on the Buzz Out Loud podcast I listened to last night, Apple has been quietly recalling batteries as well - and there have been cell phone battery recalls as well. Seems to me that someone is shaving a few too many pennies in the manufacturing process...
Some pics from Disney - here's a picture of the slide at the beach Club, taken from the boat pier (where you can ride over to MGM):
You climb up a stair to that box, and whoosh - down you go. It's a great slide into a fantastic pool. Over to Magic Kingdom: here's a shot from two days ago, when we walked in:
That's main street in the distance, with a horse drawn carriage coming down. Finally, a shot of the "Tree of Life" over at the Animal Kingdom:
That's the back side, between the Africa and Asia areas. It's been a fun week, and a nice escape from the various troubles of the world.
François Beausoleil wonders whether the internet is one big hash table, and has some Ruby code that makes the assumption :) Equivalent Smalltalk code would be easy, but I'm on my way to a theme park at the moment...
The number of bloggers competing for attention makes it seem like the blogosphere is a huge, chaotic place. But it only seems that way because we have all ended up in a small room at the end of the hall. When people refuse to converse with me or go out of their way to link around me, it hurts a little. Until I remember that while they aren't listening to me, no one in the real world is listening to them either ...
Don't get me wrong - I enjoy writing. But sometimes it feels vaguely depressing to write something, put it up and wait anxiously for someone to reply via comment or link.
The thing is, it's not one blogosphere. There are the political blogs, like Kos and RedState. They have virtually no interaction with blogs like mine (or even with Carr's, or Scoble's - both of whom sometimes touch on politics). My readership skews heavily into Smalltalkers and people interested in dynamic languages in general - I'm unlikely to attract many die hard C++ fanatics (for that matter, I'm not likely to be reading their stuff either).
Which is not to say that nothing of interest is being said in those places. Blogs attract a niche audience, based on the topics covered by the author(s). That's just the way it is. When I started this blog in 2002, I attracted about 12 pageviews a day, and it went like that for months. I've slowly built up an audience, which has been stable in the 10,000 - 20,000 pageview per day range for awhile now. I didn't get there overnight; heck, I didn't get into the thousands of pageviews until sometime in my third year.
If I had been trying this in a magazine, I'm sure that I would have lost the slot in that first year. The nice thing about the net is that you can take as long as you want to try and build an audience. As well, that audience doesn't need to be huge - if you attract a community of interested readers, that's pretty cool all by itself - and it's something that most people wouldn't have the money to try in print form. So go ahead, and write for your own reasons - if it's interesting, readers will follow.
Technorati Tags: PR
Patrick Logan notes that the next Portland (Oregon) Smalltalk meeting is coming up in September:
The next meeting's lined up, it will be at 7PM on September 12th (second tuesday of the month) at the McMenamins on NE Broadway (1504 NE Broadway, http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=32 )
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Mike Arrington noticed: an MS developer blog (Stuart Padley) let slip some details about upcoming features in Windows Live. Apparently someone in corporate didn't like that, and had him pull the post.
Of course, 9 gazillion cached copies exist, and it's only getting more notice now. You want to bury a post? Simply ignore it. Having it deleted will just draw attention.
Technorati Tags: PR
We had our fancy dinner of the week last might, at the California Grill. It's at the top of the Contemporary Resort, and you can watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from there. It was good, but a bit expensive - it will be awhile before we eat there again. Here's a picture my daughter took from up there, looking out on Cinderella's Castle:
It was a pretty nice evening.
I'm not a huge fan of government run services, but the various efforts to set up Municipal WiFi seem to be a reaction to the utter inertia of the telcos. Witness the standard objections of Verizon to a Michigan effort, and then read about QWest's decision that the pacific northwest doesn't need fiber:
Over a year has passed since the study, with no meaningful change in the Seattle broadband scene. Qwest still has no plans to offer anything beyond its current vanilla DSL offerings in the near future, according to Notebaert. With 55 percent of area residents still on dial-up by Qwest's figures, there's no demand says the Qwest CEO. "If the customer says 'I'm ready,' we're going to pour it on," he said. "I can see over the next couple of years—say three to five -- customers will want 10 [Mbps speeds] and then going to 25 [Mbps]."
With clueful comments like that, is it any wonder that municipalities want to build out on their own? Downloadable tv/movies are here already, and that's going to require bandwidth.
John Dvorak is right about YouTube (damn, I never thought I’d be using the words “Dvorak” and “right” in the same sentence).
You wanna beat YouTube you gotta pass the BlinkTest. Next! Who wants to submit something for the BlinkTest?
One small issue - no matter how sticky the site is, what's the revenue model? They have astounding bandwidth and storage costs, and - so far as I can tell - no way to actually make money. YouTube may pass the "Blink Test", but I suspect that it fails the only business test that actually matters.
My brother is right. The games are what sells the console. But there’s more to the Xbox too. Media Center is gonna be important here (you can play your pictures, audio, video that’s kept on a PC somewhere else in the house on your Xbox through its Wifi connections).
Price point matters more than Scoble (or the commenters on his brother's blog) think. The GameCube (and the upcoming Wii) hit the disposable income, impulse buy sweet spot for a lot of people. The 360 is more expensive, but still within the "family present" range. The PS3, at $600+ ? That's "major discussion with the spouse" time. In my house, that price point competes against a new PC, or a new video camera, or a new high end digital camera. I suspect that's going to be the case all over.
Sure, there are people who will pay $600 for a game system. But there are a ton more who will pay $250, IMHO.
It looks like the leading airlines can't spot a major marketing opportunity when they see it: they are taking a pass on broadband service on the plane:
It [Boeing] invested heavily in the satellite based system but most carriers have opted for cheaper internet services using cellular networks.
Yeah, I can feel the burn from 9600 baud service. On long haul (tran-atlantic and trans-pacific) flights, this kind of service would have been a major differentiator.
Scoble prefers Outlook:
Heck, I’m nearly being forced to use Google Calendar and I really really really hate it (sorry, I’m an Outlook addict). If Google can’t get me excited about its calendar there’s no way that I’ll use a calendar from a company I’ve never heard of, don’t trust. Sorry. That’s the entrepreneur’s challenge. Google can win me over just by sheer momentum. Translation: my boss will say “you vil use Google and you vil like it.”
My dislike of Outlook's calendar function doesn't have much to do with my general dislike of Outlook. I have tried multiple desktop calendar apps, and I've never warmed to them. I like Google's, because it's simple and it stays out of my way. Admittedly, I'm not in a corporate office, so my needs are somewhat different here.
The Yankee Group thinks that the PS3 will win the next generation console wars and end up on top. This makes me wonder: are they being paid by Sony, or are they all on crack? Seriously - I posted on this stuff just yesterday. Here's their take:
Yankee Group today revealed that despite intense competition from Microsoft and Nintendo, the Sony PlayStation 3 will lead sales in North America - though by a narrow margin. As a result of video game consoles’ emergence as platforms for digital distribution, Microsoft and Sony are engaged in a bruising battle for market dominance. Microsoft is off to a fast start, launching the Xbox 360 nearly 12 months before the PlayStation 3. However, by the time third-generation consoles reach market maturity in 2011, the PlayStation 3 will once again be the market leader.
Here's a key indicator for those guys: $600. That's the base price for a PS3 (and Sony will be taking a bath on each console sold at that price). It would not surprise me if the PS3 drove Sony out of the console business - but it would surprise me a lot if they managed to beat out MS.
Nintendo will be quietly profitable with the Wii, and I expect MS to grab the number one position. I expect Sony to take a severe beating from a cash perspective.
Looks like Sun might add closures to Java - complete with nasty syntax. When they add that and dynamic language support, they'll have everything required to actually have a reasonable language. Sadly, they'll still have the vast well of complexity...
About manager’s preference for Java: Don’t understimate non-technical factors! There’s no question in my mind that Lisp is strictly more expressive than Smalltalk. And in the project I work on (Croquet), some of the key people are probably more proficient at Lisp than Smalltalk. And yet there are other factors…. For managers in “the enterprise”, the key factors are risk/predictability. Suppose some project can be done in two weeks with 2 really good Lisp/Squeak cowboys, but in in 20 weeks with 10 completely commodity programmers. And suppose that all projects, regardless of duration, always turn out to be +/- 8 weeks of estimate (often due to non-technical factors), and 50% of all project fail no matter what you do (pick your own favorite percentage). Now, if you play poker, which bet gives you the best odds of making your goal within 25% of your estimate?
Well, let's look at the item that many managers look at - cost over the course of a year. Which will cost you more: Those two "cowboys", or the 10 "commodity" developers? Heck, let's say you find yourself 2 really good people, and pay them each $175k per year, as opposed to paying each of the 10 commodity guys $80k?
The only question is whether you buy the productivity numbers. Why not try a pilot project with 1-3 Smalltalkers, and set them a task that you figure would take your commodity staff 6 months to do?
The RIAA is slowly learning the lessons that the PC industry learned 20 years ago with floppy disks. Remember when games came with increasingly obnoxious copy protection schemes that were still broken in minutes by pirates? The RIAA is still in the same place - or, in terms of mourning, they are still in the anger stage:
A new poll by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News found that among teens ages 12 to 17, 69 percent said they believed it was legal to copy a CD from a friend who purchased the original.
By contrast, only 21 percent said it was legal to copy a CD if the friend got the content for free. Similarly, 58 percent thought it was legal to copy a friend’s purchased DVD or videotape, but only 19 percent thought copying was legal if the movie wasn’t purchased.
The survey results angered the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. Both contend such sharing -- they call it “schoolyard piracy” -- is illegal and now a greater threat than peer-to-peer downloading.
I guess they'll start suing the 12 year old set next. Perhaps if they spent more time on their product - and less time with the lawyers - they would come to the same conclusion that the Grateful Dead came to some 30 years ago: a small level of such copying acts like viral marketing, and promotes sales of new music and of concerts.
Of course, that would require actual thought at RIAA HQ. I expect more "treat all customers like criminals" behavior instead.
Technorati Tags: DRM
It's been a great vacation here at the Beach Club Resort, but all vacations come to an end. We are heading home today, and I'm ready to get back to work. After the weekend :)
It's that time again - Saturday, and time for my log report. I'm composing this from an AirTran flight, bound for Atlanta (and from there, on to BWI). First up - BottomFeeder downloads. They ran pretty hot last week: 272 per day. The details:
Looks like a sudden surge of Mac 8/9 downloads. I wonder if the latest release got publicized on a Mac site? Anyway, off to the HTML accesses to the blog:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Looks about like it has for awhile. Finally, the RSS accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.8%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||4%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
That looks about par for the course too. On to another week!
I've just watched the 200th SG-1 episode, which we recorded while we were away. Yes, they had some fun things in there. However, the episode was entirely navel gazing, and I would have much preferred a real episode that involved the actual story arc.
Nick, I read a few minutes ago that you are about to take a vacation. I hope you enjoy your space away from the blogosphere. Don't worry about your rankings while you are away. I'm sure when you come back, you will manage to offend enough lovers of this new conversational media, that your A-List ranking will remain secure.
The other thought is that maybe you should reflect on just quitting your blog. You don't like the blogosphere. You certainly don't seem to like those of us who are dedicating lives and energy to its promotion, and--don't be offended by this Nick--we really won't miss you a whole lot if you just sit down and shut up.
Hmm. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I disagree with Carr quite frequently - but I keep reading him because he raises interesting points that are worth thinking about. Apparently, Shel thinks that some points of view aren't worth hearing about - which runs somewhat counter to his book's premise.
In any event, Carr is writing in a fairly obvious style - he's adopted the curmudgeon pose, ready to call BS on many things. That's fine, and it's usually interesting - even when I disagree. I have no idea what Shel's problem is, but perhaps he's the one who needs to step away from the keyboard and take a few deep breaths before he goes back to it.
Via Doc Searls, I ran across this interview with Warren Buffet. They asked him a few questions about the newspaper business, and his answers are applicable to a range of news and entertainment venues:
Certain newspaper executives are going out and investing on other newspapers. I don’t see it. It’s hard to make money buying a business that’s in permanent decline. If anything, the decline is accelerating. Newspaper readers are heading into the cemetery, while newspaper non-readers are just getting out of college. The old virtuous circle, where big readership draws a lot of ads, which in turn draw more readers, has broken down.
He's definitely got that right, and most of the media people seem utterly oblivious to it. My daughter doesn't even consider the newspaper as an information source; she hits the web first (and pretty much only). With TV, she doesn't really have brand loyalty - the DVRs have changed that. Heck, I don't have any left for TV either - I have no idea what day, time, or network most of the shows I watch are on. For me, shows live in the "recorded" bin.
The same thing is happening with movies. Some people like to claim that movie attendance would go back up, if only the studios would go back to making better a product. I seriously doubt that, and I doubt that - in general - movies are worse (or better) than they were during any arbitrarily chosen "golden age". Before TV, there were no choices other than movies (ok, radio - but the difference was stark). Now there's TV, the stuff on your DVR, the internet, various video games (on a variety of devices) - there are simply more ways to stay entertained, and most of them don't involve getting up, driving to the multiplex, buying over-priced popcorn, and hoping that the audience remembers that they aren't in their own living room.
The entertainment business is now a whole slew of niche choices, and it's never going back to a unitary movie night. The same is true of TV and "must see" evenings - between the web, game systems, and DVRs, that's over too.
A lot of media execs could stand to learn this, and reading the entire interview with Buffet would be a great place to start.
The WaPo has a story on TV watching and DVR usage - there's some interesting stuff about studio responses to the fast forward button, but then there's this:
It also turns out that DVRs are not killing live viewing or shuffling the weekly prime-time schedule, at least not yet. From Sunday to Friday, 84 percent of all prime-time television viewing in DVR households is live, according to Nielsen Media Research. According to the same data, 61 percent of all prime-time programming recorded by DVRs is watched on the same days it airs.
That sounds very wrong to me. Every DVR owner I talk to has the same reaction to live TV - it's simply agonizing. It's not the ads per se, even - it's that a 60 minute show can be watched in 45 minutes off the DVR, while live, it's the entire hour. I'd really like to know where that 84 percent number came from, because it doesn't line up with how we operate, or with how anyone I know with a DVR operates either.
Wired reports that some of the digital holdouts have glommed onto reality:
Bob Seger turned the page, and Metallica finally found justice for online fans. Now, only a few remaining big-name musical acts refuse to make their songs available on Apple Computer's popular iTunes Music Store.
Of course, some artists are still waiting - perhaps for Godot:
Analysts say the online holdouts -- including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Garth Brooks, Radiohead and Kid Rock -- probably can't avoid iTunes forever as fans flock to the internet to buy music.
And some are still clearly delusional:
But the artists argue online distribution leaves them with too small a profit. And, they say, iTunes wrecks the artistic integrity of an album by allowing songs to be purchased by the track for 99 cents. Some bands, such as AC/DC have released albums on other, more flexible sites, but not iTunes.
Apple gives most of that money back to the labels - last I checked, it was something like 80 cents. Meaning, if the artists have a beef, it's not with iTunes, it's with the same people who've been screwing them over for years. As for the "artistic integrtity" argument - get over yourselves. Most of the time, I want to listen to a handful of tracks from an album (sometimes only one). If you want to sell me an entire album of music, then make it worth listening to - don't cry me a river over supposed "artistic integrity".
Technorati Tags: iTunes
Andres will be talking about the StS 2006 coding contest at the September 13th NYSTUG meeting:
Well, well... the time has come. I will be giving a presentation at New York's Smalltalk User Group on September 13th. The topic is the Smalltalk Solutions 2006 Coding Contest. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I will :). See you there --- don't miss it!
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Here's something Scoble needs to work on, and perhaps it should come before Web 2.0 parties: the podtech website. Here it is in Firefox - the text is clear, but it doesn't all fit in the browser page:
That gray text color is a horrible mistake - it makes it very hard to read. I thought that maybe the page was "designed for IE", and perhaps it was: it all fits in the browser:
I've got IE 6 here, and boy, the text is fuzzy as heck - just click through the image to see what I mean. It's completely unusable, at least in my IE on my machine. It's also lame that it doesn't work correctly in Firefox.
Mind you, the pages here aren't perfect either, so I could be accused of rock throwing in a glass house :) However, PodTech is a startup, and they can't really afford to drive people off their website. I'd like to find more good podcast content, and an easier to navigate website would help a lot.
Update: Scoble agrees, and is (not surprisingly) working to fix it. I can understand the difficult discussions over how the site should look; the main website here at Cincom sucks eggs, and I can't get anyone to listen to me on that, either :)
Technorati Tags: podcasts
Kent Newsome has been engaged in an interesting conversation over the shape and form of the blogosphere, but I think he's gone off the deep end with his latest post:
Which I think means that the more people who have access to the blogosphere, the more control will flow down blogger's hill, which will make the disenfranchised bloggers happier, which will be good for the blogosphere as a whole. There is certainly mathematical truth to the first two parts of that statement and it sounds like the words of a valiant, if idealistic, social reformer. But it is also self-evident that merely being included in a population, be it bloggers or citizens, does not end the struggle for equal opportunity. Sure, power shifts naturally as water flows naturally. But there's more to it than that. The efforts of those upstream, be they the ruling class or the dam builders, can impair and corrupt the process. To say that the natural effects of inclusion will solve the problem without further effort is to abandon a battle half won.
Here's a hot news flash: Life isn't Fair. It's not going to start being fair, either. Heck, the above makes as much sense as me demanding equal time for Smalltalk: "Hey, there's too much Java development going on, and that's not fair. Some of those projects simply must start using Smalltalk, in order to ensure equal opportunity for development languages".
Yeah, that's going to happen. No one is entitled to a large pool of readers - and a lack of them isn't a problem that needs solving. I have no idea where Kent is trying to go with that post - but let me ask this: what's the proposed solution?
Technorati Tags: media
Hmm - Erik writes that he doesn't like dynamic languages after moving from Python to Ocaml:
This particular error is typical of a whole class of errors that can exist in dynamically typed programs  but may never show up until the program is in the hands of a user. Personally, I think programs blowing up like this in the hands of users is unacceptable. Unfortunately, its also extremely common; so common that most regular computer users would have experienced things like this at least once. To me, this is a failure of discipline of software engineering.
Here's his error:
try: data = my_obj.read (1024) except: print "Read on '%s' failed" & my_obj.name ()
The error is the ampersand in the exception handler, which didn't hit until the first error. Well, that's why we have testing in general, and unit testing in particular. Personally, I find that specific kind of error rare, but it would be caught immediately with a small test.
What did he do wrong? Well, under what circumstances would you put a data read/entry function into an application and deploy it without testing how it deals with bad data? Seriously - this is not a problem that type checking will solve for you very often - the much more common error I've had in my own code is a correct statement with logic problems - something a compiler won't catch (what do you mean I can't write a file there?).
The problem he talks about is not, in general, one that you can solve with type checks. It's one you can solve with testing. Getting more feedback from the compiler may help him feel better, but it won't actually help much.
The Yankees clocked the Red Sox the last three games, but tonight is a nail biter: 5-5 going into the bottom of the ninth. Mariano Rivera against Ortiz and Ramirez. You can cut the tension with a knife on every pitch.
The big question: if Rivera holds the Sox down, who will the Sox pitch in the 10th? Papelbon just threw more than 40 pitches.
Update: Oh man, the Yankees had to make it exciting. Rivera got out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a weak grounder to the box. I can tell you what the Boston Sportswriters will be up in arms over, especially if the Yankees win: Youkilis bunting with Ortiz at second?
And now it's bullpen vs. bullpen: The Yankees have Rivera for one more inning, and the Sox have the bottom of the barrel - with no left handers :)
It shows: Giambi just took Hansen downtown for the go ahead home run. Great effort by Coco Crisp to catch the ball - that collision with the wall looked scary, and could have broken an arm. He's ok, which is good news.
The punishment continues: Cano doubled, and Posada lined a homerun down the right field line that was barely fair. It's now 8-5. With Rivera on the mound after the next out, things look good for the Yankees
With the non-power end of the Red Sox lineup in, Rivera shut them down with one weak hit - Yankees win, 8-5. The announcers just made a point about lingering damage into tomorrow: the 5th game in this set starts in less than 12 hours, and Papelbon threw 42 pitches. If the game is close, the bullpen could be an adventure again.
Scoble is taking some blowback over his "what's a blog" post. It wasn't clear from that post, but what he's really after are the influencers - and the private or semi-private sites don't count in that particular calculation:
I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer (influencer is someone who tells other people stuff, which is why blogging is getting so much advertising attention lately). That’s why Google is charging more per click than MSN is (Google has more influential users). That’s why Federated Media is closing advertising deals left and right.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote on this topic years ago in "The Tipping Point". What the advertisers want are the influencers (for obvious reasons). Doing a group buy across MySpace (or Spaces, or something else like those services) works, but it's inefficient.
To a very large extent, I think Robert and his critics are talking past each other.
Ad Age is getting a bit too happy over a survey from Jupiter Research on how people get news and information. They start their story with an anecdote:
Digital properties may be VC darlings, hot on Wall Street and coveted by advertisers. But try telling that to Dave and The podcasts, RSS feeds and blogs that so engage the daily time and energies of the leading-edge digerati are alien or unknown concepts for most of the U.S. adult population. Jean Bretzlauf, 57-year-old accountants in a well-to-do-suburb of Denver. Dave has an iPod but no idea what a podcast is. Neither is familiar with RSS. And while they read the online versions of their local papers, they also subscribe to Rocky Mountain News and several magazines -- Reader's Digest and women's mags for Jean, financial and sports rags for Dave. They catch the morning news and never miss their favorite prime-time TV shows. And they've never logged on to watch online
The fact that they read news online is telling. There's been more than one story broken by bloggers that's leaked back into mainstream sources - consider the Rathergate saga or Trent Lott's difficulties, for instance. On the non-political side, consider "Dell Hell". The thing is, the blogosphere is influencing stories that get into major media - which means that PR and advertising people need to pay attention to it (even if their audience does not directly do so).
As I mentioned this morning, many of the influencers are blogging and podcasting. Those are exactly the people that Ad Age's readers want to talk to.
Let me tell you a story: there's this programmer -- let's call him Gary -- who architected a system for a startup company and wrote some of the foundational code. Six years later, the company calls up Gary and says "We're doing $100M a year in transactions on the system and, without significant alteration of your initial architecture, can handle somewhere in excess of 10,000 simultaneous users. We're interested in 'taking things to the next level' and are looking for someone to help us architect it and write some of the foundational code."
So Gary, who is generally thankful that he can get by making a modest living as an independent contractor, thinks "gee, here's a situation where I am justified in charging an 'elite' consulting rate. Whatever I charge these guys, they will have every reason in the world to pay it." So let's say that X equals the rate that Gary charged these guys six years ago. What's your guess as to the rate at which the company walked away from negotiating a 5-month contact with Gary?
That doesn't really have anything to do with what I was talking about. Pricing yourself out of a market is a language and productivity independent thing - I've seen Cobol developers do it. If you get too greedy, sure - you lose a job, and the company ends up with the short end of the stick. On the other hand, the system built by the 10 commodity guys is not going to be less dependent on their knowledge of the code - I've seen companies completely shaft themselves by firing a consulting company, only to learn that no one is left who understands the code.
Here's the thing: Smalltalk is simple, and thus easier to pick up. A system built by 2 people probably has fewer areas of oddness than one built by 10. I've walked into many shops, looked at Smalltalk code I've never seen before, and picked up on how it works fairly quickly. Over many years of C programming, I was never really able to do that with C.
The bottom line: it matters who you hire. If you bring in someone who trys to extort money from you, the mistake was made long before the extortion got started.
Update: Larry Responds
Today's game was no slugfest - Lidle did a great job for NY, and Wells did a great job for Boston. The difference in the game was a double, a sac bunt, and a wild pitch - the Boston pen held up, other than the wild pitch. The standings after this:
Boston started 1 1/2 back, 2 in the loss column. They now live 6 1/2 back, 7 in the loss column - and 4 1/2 back in the wild card race. The Yankees look ready to cruise into the playoffs with another AL East crown. Unlike last year, the Yankees bullpen seems to be up to the task.
I was asked by our marketing group to talk about why we have the blog site here, and how we got into it. I sent the response by email - here's what I wrote:
We got into blogging mostly by accident. In 2002, I had started to read a fair number of blogs, and thought: "How hard could it be?"
So I created a blog server from scratch, using Cincom Smalltalk. At first, I had no idea how the thing was going to work - in fact, if you go back to June of 2002, you'll see that I set it up as a group blog. By later that month I was the only one posting, and I made it my own.
I started out doing Smalltalk advocacy, but expanded the topics I wrote about as time went by. I also added in other bloggers to the server, and steadily added features to my software to support that. It took awhile, but I ended up building a decent sized audience (10,000 - 20,000 pageviews daily, 4500+ subscribers to the RSS/Atom feeds).
One of the most important things to be as a blogger is persistent and regular: you need to post on a regular basis, and you have to hit within the zone of your chosen topic(s). I avoid partisan politics, because I'm posting on a corporate server. On the other hand, I do swing at IT industry politics and analysts, since I'm working in the field they cover. It took me awhile to figure out the appropriate tone to use - I probably still use more sarcasm than is wise, but that's part of my personality - always has been, always will be.
Persistence is important because it can take a long time to reach an audience: I had something like 12 pageviews a day for months in 2002, and it took me over a year to break into the 100s. Many bloggers give up at that point (and some complain that it's "impossible" to overcome the hold of the "A-Listers"). If you keep at it, use an honest voice, and - most importantly - have something interesting to say - you'll get noticed. My blog gets picked up by Techmeme, which helps a lot - but I had to post for a long time before that happened.
Regular posting is important as well. I regularly purge feeds from my aggregator if there hasn't been a post in a few weeks. You don't have to post as often as I do (I've averaged nearly 6 posts a day, including weekends, since 2002) - but you have to do it. Having a brilliant essay once a month isn't as valuable as having something decent every day - if you prefer essays, then you are probably looking at the wrong forum.
I like to think that this has helped gain visibility for Smalltalk in general, and Cincom Smalltalk in particular. I get links from non-Smalltalkers regularly - which is good, as it means that they are at least aware that Smalltalk is still here. If you do a Google search for "Cincom" , you'll see that 4 of the top 10 results are for Cincom Smalltalk, and that Cincom Smalltalk is the first Cincom product that hits the list. If you Google "Smalltalk Blog" , you'll see that I hit the top spot. I don't use any SEO techniques, mostly because I think they are a waste of time. What I do is post early and often, and talk about Smalltalk regularly.
I've also learned to use my aggregator to search for references to Smalltalk, Cincom, VisualWorks, ObjectStudio, competing products, and my name - which picks up commentary about things I would otherwise miss (and which I often link to). In this fashion, I maintain my position as an engaged member of the part of the technical blogosphere in which I live. I also spot inaccuracies that should be addressed, and praiseworthy mentions that should be linked to. It's all become a major part of my job as Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager.
Comments or emails on this welcome!
Eric Winger announces Gemstone's latest GemBuilder support for VW (and VA):
GBS 7.0.2 is the third release to support the latest GemStone/S 64-bit servers with 64-bit object IDs, and the first release to support VisualWorks 7.4.1. It also fixes a number of bugs present in earlier versions.
Follow the link for full details.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
SCI FI Channel confirmed that it will not renew its record-breaking original series Stargate SG-1 for another season, but will pick up its spinoff series Stargate Atlantis for a fourth year.
I like SG-1, but I think it is running out of gas. The 200th episode was proof of that, to my mind. I'm happy to see the StarGate world continue though.