Sci Fi Wire reports that Tom Cruise has been offloaded by Paramount:
Paramount Pictures is ending its 14-year relationship with Tom Cruise's film production company because of the actor's offscreen behavior, the company's chairman said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Seems that the small box office for MI:3 got their attention...
On the vwnc mailing list, a question came up about loading patch parcels at runtime:
I'm having problems loading "patch" parcels into a runtime image, because Overrides happen to access class comments and method sources (which are absent from the runtime product). It's getting more and more frustrating to poke around in the Override class tree and apply fixes here and there ... Is there a better and simpler solution for this?
As it happens, I load updates at runtime in BottomFeeder, and those updates have had to deal with the same problems. You have to be ready to handle a few exceptions during the parcel load. In a development image, you'll get prompted for some of these issues, whereas in a runtime you just want to have the load happen. Here's the code I use:
[[Parcel loadParcelFrom: parcelFile] on: Parcel parcelAlreadyLoadedSignal, CodeStorageError do: [:ex | ex resume: true]] on: DuplicateBindingsError do: [:ex | ex resume]
What that does is ignore overrides and "already loaded" issues, and just plows forward. For some applications, you might care more deeply about those exceptions, and want to act differently.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Less is better is talking up dynamic languages at BarCamp:
The original un-conference in Toronto this weekend, August 26 and 27. I’ll be leading on a session on “Why Dynamic Languages!”. I suspect that I’ll be preaching to the choir since BarCamp tends to be populated with lots of folks from the Web 2.0 startup space who naturally gravitate towards technologies like PHP and Rails. I want to tell my version of this story, and encourage folks to tell their own version of the story to anyone else who will listen.
Sounds like fun
I'm shocked, shocked to learn that Digg is being gamed by a relatively small set of users:
2 days ago I submitted a story to Digg regarding the Arizona Cardinals name of their new football stadium, and it ended up with 17 diggs. Well, yesterday while going through my RSS feed, I saw that the same story had made the digg/sports home page. One of them with 11 Diggs which is less then my submission and another with 470 Diggs and counting. Both stories were submitted well after mine, and the one currently on the sports home a whole day after.
After contacting a few of the prominent "Diggers" in the sports section (who asked to remain nameless), I asked them all the same question on how their stories always get "dugg" and I was taken aback by the answers. These "diggers" all have some sort of advanced notification system, from email list servs, message board, and even IM bots to notify their digging network.
Digg has editors; they are just ad-hoc and unpaid.
Technorati Tags: digg
There have been tons of news stories about companies blocking (partially or even fully) internet access so as to "keep people working". I've thought that was a really stupid idea for a long time; would you want to work at the sort of outfit that treated you like a 5 year old in need of a filter? Here's more on the subject, from an MS employee with the title "Senior Design Anthropologist" (I love that title, btw):
Jobseekers will think twice about employers who lock down work internet access, a senior Microsoft executive said today.
“These kids are saying: forget it! I don’t want to work with you. I don’t want to work at a place where I can’t be freely online during the day,” said Anne Kirah, Microsoft Senior Design Anthropologist.
“People that I meet are saying this to me every day, all over the world.”
The web, IM, and IRC are all crucial parts of my job; I couldn't work without them. Manager who implement lockdowns (outside the national security zone) are looking at this completely wrong: if you have an employee who spends too much time browsing the web (etc) instead of working, then you could try actually managing - discipline (or terminate) the bad actor.
What we have in outfits that just "punish the class" are managers afraid to do their jobs.
You have to love this: Mikael Grev of JavaLobby says that closures are too hard for Java developers:
Not only are the guys behind the Closure proposal very smart, they are also experts at what they do. Very probably the best in their field. They are also IMO very intelligent, which means they get the grasp of things very quickly, like most of the people hanging out here at JL I guess. The problem is that no one stands up for the normal, averagely smart "Java-Joe". There is a simple reason for this. He does something else (like having a life, ;) ) while we geeks are discussing closures and the fine print of the different syntaxes. The problem with this is that he neither have been involved in the construction of this "feature" nor has he even been asked whether it's a thing he wants or solves any of the problems he has.
Closures will make the code harder to read. That's a fact I think no one denies. It sure has its uses and I drool over the clever code I can write and that not many corporate average Joe can decode. Code that I don't understand that they don't understand.
Hmm. Here's how closures look in Smalltalk:
block := [:arg1 | someObject doSomethingWith: arg1].
to use it:
result := block value: someArgument.
Boy, that sure is hard. Looking at the Java example referenced here, there's the extra cruft of type declarations (which serve to make it somewhat harder to read IMHO - but hey - if you work in Java, you probably zone out on that anyway). To be brutal, if you can't figure out how to read code with closures, you probably can't figure out methods, functions, and subroutines either. In fact, if you can't figure out closures, you're probably the kind of person who creates one class with a method called main() - and no other classes. I've seen that kind of code in Smalltalk, and I'm sure it exists in Java too.
There's a full post on closures for Java here. There's cruft due to the need for explicit typing, but they don't look that hard. I have called them lipstick on a pig, but hey - at least they make the pig somewhat more functional.
Hat tip Blaine Buxton.
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for Dell, news like this flies by: Qantas won't let you have the battery in while your machine is running on the onboard power. So it's either run on battery, or run on power without the battery. Not a hug imposition, but a another slap to Dell. Apparently, this is spreading to airports as well:
However, some airports are making people tape up their batteries entirely, which means your laptop's only usable if you plug it in.
To my mind, this is the end game of trying to be the complete low cost provider in a commodity space. Dell laptops aren't that much cheaper than anyone else's, but they've been having suppliers shave pennies to get where they are. I'd guess that their battery suppliers shaved a few too many. Add in their well known problems in support (same issue: cost), and you have a real PR nightmare.
Even worse, according to the Buzz out Loud (CNet) folks, Dell knew about the battery problem in October 2005, but sat on it until this summer. Sheesh.
Update: Dell responds in the comments
After a week of wrangling, the International Astronomical Union decrees that Pluto does not meet the qualifications to be classified a planet. For the first time since 1930, there are eight planets in the solar system.
It's now classified (along with other small objects out that far) as a dwarf planet, because:
Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."
Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.
Alas poor Pluto :)
I thought I had updated the build scripts on the BottomFeeder download page, but I was wrong - the old ones (for the 4.1 version) were still out there. I've just updated them now. If you register for the Software With Style developer program, you should now be able to do a source build of BottomFeeder with VW 7.4.1.
Esther Derby says that you should have low tolerance level for jerks at work - because they'll cost you one way or another:
I still hear people justifying jerk behavior because "he's a star" or "she's a creative type" or
.... Bottom line is that jerks cost your company.
She gives some good examples - and ammunition for any arguments over whether the more difficult people are worth it or not.
Via Joel Spolsky, I ran across the coolest Firefox extension:
IETab takes advantage of the fact that Internet Explorer is available as an ActiveX control, which is available to be embedded in any Windows application, to open certain websites in Firefox using Internet Explorer. Whenever a website comes up complaining that you need to get "Netscape 4.0 or some other modern browser" you can just right click on the tab and it'll pop up right in Firefox being rendered by Internet Explorer. You can set up a list of websites that always come up in IE tabs
There are screenshots of the settings screen over at Joel's; you can list websites that will always use the IE control. This lets you route around the damage of people who think that IE specific websites are ok (like, for instance, the folks here at Cincom who maintain the internal websites. Sigh). Runs in its own tab, which is very nice.
Wired has a simple summary article up on how Lithium Ion batteries can go bad. It sounds to my (mostly uninformed on this issue) ear like small manufacturing errors - the kind you might expect when you are trying to shave costs to the bone - are a real risk factor here.
I ran into a funny little bug in the Http client code in VW 7.4.1 via BottomFeeder - I stumbled on a report of difficulty reading this feed: http://planeterlang.org/rss20.xml. Here's the thing that caused a problem in the headers:
The parser tries to read the charset, and makes assumptions about there being something to read - and of course, bails out. I hacked a quick fix to just have it assume utf-8 in those cases, and reported the bug to engineering for a more permanent fix in the base product.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Troy, commenting on life in his new neigborhood:
As I've noted in prior posts, the neighborhood feels more alive and genuine than other places I've lived or looked at. We have some neighbors who sit out on their stoops, and I generally wave and say hi when I walk past while walking Duncan.
The idea that urban life is somehow more "genuine" than suburban life is amusing. For most of human history, people lived in small groups, village sized or less. In that respect, urban life is every bit as artificial as suburban life. I don't begrudge anyone their choice of where to live - people differ, and if living where you live makes you happier, that's great. I'd just like to see this meme of "urban = genuine" die the death that it deserves.
My daughter attended a skating camp during the last week of summer (school starts next week) - and today they had an end of camp recital. So, I took a couple of shots of her having fun on the ice:
It's back to the school year next week.
BottomFeeder downloads went back to more normal levels this week: they dropped down 157 per day. The details:
Next, the HTML page accesses for the week:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
The percentages are about the same as ever. The cool thing is, the traffic for the site as a whole continues to rise slightly, week on week. Finally, the RSS feeds numbers:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.6%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||4.1%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
Those look about the same as always. Off to another week - and then to ESUG at the end of it.
The cross platform nature of Cincom Smalltalk has helped another person - here's The Lutheren Zephyr, who was looking for a reader that would work on Windows 98:
Dad to the rescue! Hearing of my predicament my dad offered me an old laptop, allowing me to blog on the train to and from work. I am now equipped with a Sony Vaio SuperSlim Pro notebook, model PCG-5211. It's about 6 years old, and runs Windows 98 (which is no longer supported by Microsoft). Since it is running Windows 98, I had a challenge finding a RSS reader that would work on Windows 98 AND allow me to read blogs offline. But I found one - BottomFeeder.
Actually, you can draft posts for a blog using the blog posting tool as well :)
Kevin Burton makes a very good point about search:
This is the elephant in the blog search corner that Technorati doesn't want to talk about. Most consumers just want to search. They don't think about blogs. If you're searching Google for 'Firefox' and the top result is from a blog and the second result is mozilla.org why would you not show the first result?
That's pretty much the case. If I want to search a specific blog (something I do far more often than search "the blogosphere", I use the advanced page in Google and limit the domain. When I search, I almost never think about blog results as a separate thing.
Peter Fisk is showing off a simple network game using Vista Smalltalk. He's integrated Jabber as well, which is neat. I found this interesting as well:
The mechanism for updated the remote player’s board is based on a special kind of text message. If a message is preceded with “@@@”, then the first three characters are discarded and the rest of the message is treated as a Smalltalk message. This technique could be used for collaborative work group applications as well as games.
That's a trick I've used myself in demos before.
Scoble makes the impact of spam more clear: the spam blocker used by WordPress blogs is down right now, and that means that WordPress bloggers are getting buried:
The problem is that bloggers who don’t use Wordpress.com blogs mostly don’t see this as an issue. It’s a HORRIBLE issue here when Akismet isn’t doing its job. Since I’ve started using Wordpress.com Akismet has blocked more than 64,000 spams.
My spam solution is built into my blog, which means I'm unlikely to have this specific problem (I have different ones though - maintaining the code for it being the primary one). The tragedy is that you can't really get by without some kind of anti-spam solution. While Akismet is down, the simplest answer for affected users is to turn comments and trackbacks off. Might be overkill, but it's probably better than spending all your waking hours deleting spam.
If you have feeds that sit behind an HTTP Authentication scheme, they stopped working with the 4.2 release of BottomFeeder. This was a regression - I hadn't noticed a few code changes between VW 7.4 and VW 7.4.1. I looked at that yesterday afternoon, and fixed the problem - look for the NetResourcesHTTP update in the update tool.
There have been a few glitches like this, so I think I'll roll out a 4.3 release that simply wraps up all the bug fixes. If I have time for that this week, it will be out before Friday. If not, it won't be until after ESUG.
I'm wandering through some of the posts I flagged for later last week, and ran across Steve Rubel's comments about the huge number of splogs. This caught my attention after seeing the troubles WordPress users are having without Akismet.
Now, spam and splogs are slightly different, but it's all part of a continuum. According to research that Steve points to, 56 percent of the English language blogs are actually splogs. That affects a lot of the numbers that get tossed around; you need to keep that in mind the next time Dave Sifry posts a "state of the Blogosphere".
With all that crap out there, the various search engines are just getting buried. However, note this:
Unfortunately, what's absent from the piece is any accountability directed at the powers that supply these spam blogs with their funds: advertising networks. It seems to me that the splog problem needs to be attacked by not just the publishers and the search engines, but also by the contextual search ad providers who are making it easy for spam bloggers to make money. Google, Yahoo and others will need to raise the requirements for publishers who want to enroll in these lucrative programs. Publishers should have to prove they are legitimate before they can sign up for Adsense or any other contextual ad service.
Well, that gets into something interesting: what is Google's actual motivation to stop this stuff? Seriously - if a splogger is pushing up AdSense that makes money, Google is getting a cut. There's a financial disincentive for them to take action. Yahoo (et. al.) have the same issues. We can wish that wasn't the case, but it is. Bearing in mind that they have to answer to their shareholders first, I'm skeptical that they are going to do much about it.
Don't believe me? Flip to the back of PC Magazine. You think they're going to stop selling ads to some of the more "interesting" vendors back there? It's about as likely as online vendors putting a stop to a money making operation.
I listened to the latest Gillmor Gang podcast (Trust Gang Part IV) today, and in segment 4, Seth Goldstein talked about where he's headed with the Root Markets idea. I've never completely bought into the whole idea of "attention streams", but the explanation of where this is going reminded me of something:
Remember beanz, digicash, and flooz (internet cash)? The idea was that you signed up with a company, and then you exchanged something (access to your personal information, typically) in exchange for "internet cash". You could then go to online vendors and exchange that digital cash for real goods. Except... vendors didn't want beanz, they wanted Visa. Or Mastercard. Or... you get the idea.
The gang was hung up on what I'd consider the trivial point - you would have to trust Root Markets well enough to let them manage your "attention data" (the history of what you visit on the web). Heck, we already trust Google, Yahoo, and our ISPs with that data (at least implicitly). The harder question is, why would a vendor of widgets want to take "root beanz" instead of a credit card? To some extent, this tells me that "Web 2.0" is headed for the weeds in the same way that "Web 1.0" did. When people start running back to already rejected ideas, it's a bad sign.
First penny: if you're looking for a job implementing programming language runtimes and you only know Java... umm... I suggest you learn a couple more languages starting with C/C++ (so you know how programming carelessly can really hurt hurt hurt you) and then Scheme (so you learn about recursion, first class functions, continuations, and programs as data) and then finally Smalltalk (so you can experience true object oriented programming and pure programming joy).
What happens when you get stuck in curly brace-ville?
The downside is you may be spoiled for lesser programming environments, and become surly and depressed once you understand the sad truth of the programming language landscape today.
He then links to Peter Fisk's Vista Smalltalk, which is getting to be a very interesting read.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I've seen a lot of dumb posts, but this one, by mgreenly is right up near the top of the stupo-meter:
Scoble went on a witch hunt today because some one was scrapping his blog content and re-using it. The problem is he's syndicating 100% of his content in his RSS feed. Which means he's all but signed a letter of permission for the public re-use of this content. Even worse in this particular case it was being re-used with attribution and a link back to his actual blog.
Hmm. So a book is an invitation to photocopy, then? How about a newspaper - is that a license to copy too? How about CDs - are those a license to rip and redistribute? How about web pages - are they a license to scrape and redistribute?
Which part of copyright law is this guy not clear on? The ease of copying does not change who owns the copyright. Fair use allows for copying for personal use. It doesn't allow for unrestricted redistribution without permission - and the things Scoble is pointing to don't fall under fair use, IMHO.
There was a fatal plane crash this morning, but that didn't stop Conan O'Brian at the Emmys - he went right ahead and did a plane crash satire (riff on Lost). That's just incredibly lame - I don't care how tightly scripted the show was, there's this thing called "good taste"...
Technorati Tags: good+taste
Apparently, Google is interested in the Enterprise space now; I stumbled on this second hand, via Scoble's blog. The interesting thing to me is his reaction to it. On the one hand, he says he doesn't like their stuff vis-a-vis MS Office:
The funny thing is that at PodTech we’re actually using most of the “Google Office Suite.”
I hate it. It isn’t even in the same ballpark yet as having an Exchange server.
On the other hand, he thinks MS is going to fall behind due to inattention to the rising Mac platform:
Please note: that doesn’t mean Microsoft should sit back and celebrate. They are gonna get their ass kicked in this space because of their lack of attention to the Macintosh. That’s the #1 reason I’ll probably be using Google’s stuff over the next year instead of Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, and Entourage.
So what's in this suite? Here's InformationWeek:
Google this week will launch Google Apps for Your Domain, a software bundle aimed at small and midsize companies. The free, ad-supported package combines Google's E-mail, calendar, and instant messaging with Web site creation software. It will be hosted in Google's data center, branded with customers' domain names, and packaged with management tools for IT pros.
That's the first step. Later this year, Google plans to add its Writely word processor and Google Spreadsheets to the suite, build online collaboration features that work across its applications, and market the whole package to large companies for a fee. Google will include IT-friendly features such as APIs, directory-server integration, guaranteed performance levels, and telephone tech support.
Now there's where I start to get skeptical. Take a walk through the blogosphere looking for "lost blog posts" for a minute, and you'll get an idea as to why. I like Google Calendar, and I use Gmail (with a caveat: I use the Pop3 interface to bring the mail to my client app). Why? Because I need offline access, that's why. Now, that's clearly not a showstopper - witness SalesForce.com. My skepticism may or may not be shared by most people.
Which means that this will be an interesting show to watch. The Google suite will be a big test of software as a service (as opposed to client software via license). That alone could provide a quake in the industry, given Google's size.
Update: Om Malik makes some very good points on the privacy and access based downsides:
Of course there was the whole issue of getting email on the go; many on our team wanted to use BlackBerries, while I wanted to use my Nokia E61 with Good (by far the best push mail offering on Symbian), so instead we decided to go the traditional route. Okay, perhaps I was being a bit too paranoid, but given the recent AOL DataGate, it is prudent to be wary of the big guys.
Dare Obasanjo calls BS on the difference in treatment of MS/Google announcements by bloggers:
As usual, the technology blogs are full of the Microsoft vs. Google double standard. When Microsoft announced Office Live earlier this year, the response was either muted or downright disappointed because it wasn't a Web-based version of Microsoft Office . An example of such responses is Mike Arrington's post entitled Microsoft Office Live goes into Beta . On the flip side, the announcement of Google Apps for your Domain which is basically a "me too" offering from Google is heralded by Mike Arrington in his post Google Makes Its Move: Office 2.0 as the second coming of the office suite. The difference in the responses to what are almost identical product announcements is an obvious indication at how both companies are perceived by the technology press and punditry.
Some of that is expectations. Sure, there's a double standard to some extent, but people expect more from MS, fairly or not. When you own properties like Office and Windows, that's just part of the game.
Technorati Tags: PR
One of the things I really, really liked about the "Lord of the Rings" movies was the music - I've popped the DVD's in just to listen to the closing music. This morning, I was waiting to have a new cell phone loaded with my address book, so I walked over to Best Buy to peruse CDs. In the soundtrack section, I came across "Music from The Lord of the Rings", by Mask. It's really quite good - I've been listening to the CDs directly, but I'll be ripping them so that I can carry this on my iPod. I especially like "Into the West", which is from the finale. For anyone who likes the story, it's a really touching piece.
You hear a lot of complaints about the blogosphere being filled with fact free ranting and echo-chamberness. Well, the mainstream media looks a lot like that right now - witness the John Mark Karr circus. Over the last few weeks, the cable news outlets have been on a nearly 24x7 feeding frenzy on this one - today we learn that there's no DNA match, and that the local DA does not intend to press charges.
Boy, those editors and fact checkers are sure doing a world of good over in MSM-world...
With conferences, you have an expectation. You know some of the topics that will be discussed as well as some of the speakers. In an “unconference”, you may know some speakers because they’re mentioned sessions they want to do on a webpage but really, it’s subject to change - and it may not even be a presentation. Maybe it’s just “I just wanted to talk about open source movement,” and open the floor. I can do that over a dinner.
That's a good point. I don't know if I'm completely negative on the idea, but the boosterism you see from some corners is kind of off-putting.
Although this attention thing sounds a little good and a little creepy at the same time, it is essentially as it always has always been: anyone concerned with what you’re paying attention to is out to make money off of you. Trying to paint attention monitoring or tracking or trust or what have you as anything other than that is dishonest. You and I are not that important. No one, I mean no one, besides a suspicious mate cares what you pay attention to online unless they’re looking to divorce some bread from your wallet.
Pretty much, yeah. She goes on, and the rest of her post is worth reading - follow the link for it. The funny thing is, not only is attention/gesture a silly way to extract information worth selling - but, as I said the other day, the proposed business model for it flopped like a fish out of water back in the late 90's. It's an idea whose time tried to come, and wasn't worth waiting for.
The Red Sox are in an epic tailspin, and they just received even more bad news: Ortiz' irregular heartbeat is still bothering him, and he's out until they figure it out:
The massive slump the Red Sox are in seemed far less relevant by the end of Monday night, when the club revealed that David Ortiz, the team's star designated hitter, suffered a recurrence of the rapid heartbeat he was experiencing 10 days ago. Ortiz will fly back to Boston on Tuesday morning to undergo further medical exams.
Ramirez is also out, with a hamstring injury. Those two were the only punch that ballclub had left. It's all over in Boston, except for the recriminations.
Wired News thinks that Sony is in fairly deep trouble - the electronics division is on a decade long slide, and they are hoping that the PS3 will reverse that. The trouble is, the $600 price tag (as I've mentioned many times before) is not the way there.
Based on this article, I think Sony has a positioning problem: they are marketing a game system, but they have far larger (and mostly invisible) plans for the PS3:
The PS3 is much more than a game box. Kutaragi likes to say it's actually a computer, one that's designed to lie at the center of the networked home, serving up films, navigating the Internet, doing nearly everything a PC can do, and delivering jaw-dropping videogames besides. The new console relies on two extremely ambitious yet untested technologies. At its core is a highly sophisticated microchip that can cruise at teraflop speeds (equal to the fastest supercomputers of less than a decade ago) and that might someday revolutionize home electronics. Also built into the machine is Sony's new Blu-ray hi-def disc player, which is proudly incompatible with a rival format from Toshiba and which represents a bold, some would say reckless, attempt to control the multibillion-dollar market in next-generation video discs.
Well, that might explain why Sony thinks that the $600 price tag is reasonable. The problem here is one of branding: Sony, whether it likes it or not, is selling game consoles, not home media centers. The market for home media centers of this sort isn't even proven - Microsoft thought they could sell Media Center PCs into the living room, and it hasn't worked. People like well made, single purpose devices (like Tivo). They don't want their DVR to crash because the latest IE patch failed.
I documented the exciting process of setting up a Media Center PC (and that didn't even cover HD - I'm sure that adds to the fun) awhile back, and it wasn't easy. When people buy a game system, they aren't really expecting to have configuration issues. Maybe Sony has something that will solve that, but they sure haven't told anyone. The PS3 is being pushed as a next gen console, not as a multi-purpose device. As a multi-purpose device, the $600 tag might work. As a game console, it's just laughable.
Update: Scoble makes a point involving HD TVs:
I guess it depends how many people will buy $4,000 TVs over the next year. If you get one of those you’ll probably open a credit account. Then $600 more isn’t really that big a deal since that’ll probably cost you another $20 a month. At least that’s how I bought my Xbox and my HD-DVD. Best Buy gave me $10,000 worth of credit by filling out a simple form. Oh, yeah, sorry to pop everyone’s bubble that I’m one rich dude. It’s the American way: go into debt for your toys.
Well, I still say this: At $600, you hit "conversation with the spouse" territory in a lot of households. I'm also not sure how many people will spend $4k on a TV. We bought an HD capable TV (i.e., no tuner) 2 years ago for less than $2k. There is simply no way I'd spend $4k on a TV - especially when only a small fraction of the available channels are HD.
Just when I thought patents couldn't get dumber, I ran across the asinine patent that Blackboard was granted. Did they patent any software or hardware? Heck no - they patented an idea:
Blackboard's patent doesn't refer to any device or even specific software code. Rather, it describes the basic framework of an LMS. In short, Blackboard says what it invented isn't learning tools like drop boxes, but the idea of putting such tools together in one big, scalable system across a university.
How can you tell when a company is busy being a patent troll? Why, when they feel forced to issue statements like this one:
"Blackboard is not a troll," he said, referring to the term for companies that establish a patent but don't use it except to exact royalties from others. "We're not trying to put anyone out of business. We're not trying to hinder innovation. We're seeking a reasonable royalty."
I think I'll create a flowchart of the "stupid patent process", and apply. Then, whenever a set of morons like Blackboard tries to patent an idea, I'll sue for infringement. The sad thing is, given the clear stupidity of the US PTO, I'd probably stand a decent chance of getting the patent...
First, Windows DRM was cracked with FairUse4WM. Today we learn that Apple's fairPlay has been cracked by QTFairUse6. A rational RIAA would realize that this is a bad replay of the floppy disk protection wars of the 80's - but I don't expect that. No, I expect more raw stupidity. Where the RIAA is concerned, there's no such thing as a bridge too far...
And I've heard from people that open standards work *was* done at Foo Camp this year, and David, that's a problem for EVERYONE including the people who were invited. Tim should really make that clear up front, this is a party, a social event, and you should not try to do open standards work at such an event.
As opposed to the way Dave deals with work on clarifying RSS? Where he's willing to call employers and threaten with lawsuits? How is there room in California for anyone else, with Winer's ego there?
Update: Oh, this is rich. I had no idea Winer had been invited to Davos (2000). Talk about your exclusive events where "matters of consequence" are discussed. I'd call him hypocritical, but that would be an insult to hypocrites everywhere.
Lee Gomes of the WSJ has dug into YouTube, and come up with some fascinating statistics - head on over there for them, or check Steve Rubel's post for a quick summary. Here's the part that still makes me wonder:
YouTube videos take up an estimated 45 terabytes of storage -- about 5,000 home computers' worth -- and require several million dollars' worth of bandwidth a month to transmit.
Those costs are one reason that some predict YouTube will collapse under the sheer weight of providing a haven for every teenager with a cellphone camera eager to be famous for 15 minutes of video.
I've been wondering about those costs for awhile - it seems to me that unless they start charging a subscription fee, or start selling ads on the TV model (i.e., patched into every uploaded video), there's simply no way they can stay afloat for the long haul. Am I wrong? What am I missing here?
Technorati Tags: business
This is kind of neat: STIC has decided to make [ | ] an official logo for Smalltalk. In Smalltalk geek circles, people sometimes refer to themselves as "Knights of the Square Bracket" :)
As part of the Smalltalk Central initiative, the Smalltalk Industry Council now advocates for the use of [|] (bracket, vertical bar, bracket), as in: '[|] Powered by Smalltalk'. [|] represents a unique aspect of Smalltalk syntax, it's easy to include in both graphic and text based content, and, over time, will become a recognized logo.
Count me in!
Technorati Tags: stic
Apple's UNIX (who knows what it'll be called by then) will overtake commercial Linux in rate of revenue growth by the end of 2007. By mid-2008, Apple's sales of systems with factory-installed Apple UNIX will exceed the total combined sales of x86 systems factory-shipped with commercial Linux. At the end of the decade, we'll find that Apple UNIX has overtaken commercial Linux as the second most popular general client and server computing platform behind Windows.
This is a good thing. Microsoft has desperately needed competition to wake them up from their somnolence, and it looks like they're going to get it.
Technorati Tags: apple
There's an interesting bug in the VW menu editor that crops up if you have Pollock loaded and want to add message catalog information to a menu item. Here's a screen shot of the tool I'm talking about:
There's a lookup key and catalog specified for that item, but they don't show (and, if you try to enter them, they don't stick. Again, this only happens if you have Pollock loaded. As it happens, there's a method added to class UserMessage that looks like this:
evaluate ^self asString
That interferes with showing the catalog data. The fix? Simply comment out the code, which makes the method return self. In the next build of Pollock, this method will be going away - it turns out to be legacy code (ironic, given that Pollock is still in development).
I expect that most people won't run into this, but if you have Pollock loaded, you will.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Markus Denker has announced a Smalltalk gathering in Bern, Switzerland on October 28th:
SSUG is organizing a Smalltalk Gathering. We invite all Smalltalkers to join this event to share their enthusiasm and knowledge about Smalltalk.
University of Bern - IAM Bern, Switzerland
Here is some information on how to get there:
Sat 28h of October 2006 -- 9:30am until ...
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
If you plan to attend, please register on the Wiki
Send Markus an email in order to get the Wiki password.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
This is the vision that keeps the RIAA up at night:
Imagine a world where musicians keep the copyright to their music and make $5 or $6 per album sold instead the current $1 or $2. This is a model being proposed by Terry McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group. With sales of CDs continuing a downward spiral, he realizes that the music industry needs to make some changes.
Right now, there are a gazillion middle men (most of whom subtract value) in the music business, and the upshot is that artists collect virtually nothing from CD sales. Here's what could change that:
McBride’s model calls for artists to record under their own labels. They retain ownership of their music. Companies like Nettwerk take the place of all of the different players who are typically involved in selling CDs. This means any profit has a much smaller split, with all involved able to take more home. In addition, keeping the copyright in one place makes it easier to sell songs to advertising agencies, to approve free downloads for promotion, or to do whatever it takes to market the music. Every move doesn’t require multiple approvals.
That would be like a breath of fresh air in the industry, and it's exactly what the RIAA doesn't want. They want the status quo, so that they and all their middle men can continue to subtract value and rake in profits.
Technorati Tags: DRM
John Dvorak thinks that the move of Google's CEO to Apple's board could signal a Sun/Apple merger:
As soon as Google CEO Eric Schmidt was named to the board of directors at Apple some mild speculation ensued suggesting that he'd eventually become CEO of Apple. After all, Schmidt, unlike many other high-profile CEOs, is not one to join every board that has an opening.
In fact Schmidt may have been brought in as the set-up pitcher for what may finally be the often rumored merger between Apple and Sun. Schmidt would quietly be Sun's inside man on the negotiations although technically he's be a neutral party since he doesn't actually work for Sun.
I'll believe that when I see it - and I think it would be a cluster you know what of absolutely epic proportions. If it happened, the first thing you would see would be savage cuts on the Sun side of the house, in order to stop the bleeding. That would lead to the all too common (in merger situations) middle management warfare. I've lived through a smaller version of that, and believe me - no one wins.
Here's my prediction: if such a merger does take place, the combined company will be smaller than either one within 5 years.
Scoble has corrected a post where he got on someone's case for copying his content:
UPDATE: Looked like Elliott Back was the author of that site, but now I learn he just wrote the software (Elliott just called me and says he’s not involved). This guy John Comokaz (email@example.com) is bothering Elliott too, by dragging his Elliott’s name through the mud. I just did a whois lookup and found the guy who does the crazyfactor site is John Comokaz.
Looking through Scoble's comments, a bunch of people praise this Back guy (I wonder if any of them are sock puppets). Here's the thing: the software he wrote serves one purpose - to create splogs that steal other people's content. That makes him just as low as the sploggers in my book. I'm with Doc Searls on this one.
Technorati Tags: splog