Engadget found another flaming Thinkpad - today's lesson: don't get smug about the laptop you have, lest you find that it can go all bonfire on you too :/
It appears that the exploding IBM ThinkPad that we spotted last week at LAX may not have been a fluke after all. Telsa Gwynne, wife of famed Linux kernel programmer Alan Cox, describes on her website how her husband's ThinkPad battery suddenly exploded last night (see the photo on the next page), after which "a couple of fires started where the (presumably) boiling battery landed," with one of the fragments taking out a nearby LCD monitor.
I know these are rare, and I know it's highly unlikely to happen to me. Still, that picture is sobering...
Time for that weekly look at the logs. First up: BottomFeeder downloads. They went up a bit, to 264 a day - I released version 4.3, so that's no surprise:
Next up - the HTML page accesses. Traffic rose last week - it looks like the podcasts and screencasts were a good idea :)
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
And finally, syndication traffic - which also rose last week:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||6.7%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||2.3%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
I'd guess that IE 7 is picking up more use - the stats for that browser are rising in the RSS feeds.
Now that I have a slightly better handle on the audio tools I use, Ive gone back and cleaned up the first two podcasts I did - with Rowan Bunning and Georg Heeg. The ambient noise is less of a problem in the Rowan interview now, so it should be easier on the ears. I also added in the same intro/exit music that Michael and I have been using for Industry Misinterpretations.
An added benefit - the mp3 files are much smaller :)
Jeff Jarvis, noting that two podcasters are hanging up their mike's, comments on the difficulties:
Step back from the keyboard before you start writing that made-up trend story. I sense that people ( Winer aside ) don’t flame out on blogs the way they might on podcasts and I think the reason for that is that podscasts are both more of a production and more of a performance. It’s harder. That’s also why fewer will start podcasts -- and why I haven’t. It’s easier to blather through a keyboard than a microphone.
It is more difficult. I've only done 4, and I can tell you - they take far more time and effort than posting. First, there's the actual time to have the interview (or conversation, etc). That's the easy part. Then comes the hard part - production work. It's at this point that you start to understand why radio stations (and TV, and movies) have sound people. Doing noise reduction, mixing, and lag correction isn't an insurmountable task, but it's not trivial, either.
Not everyone has the time to spend on it. Blogging takes very little time - with audio, you have to set aside an hour or three before you can get the results posted.
I managed to get in 18 today with my buddy Brian before the rains came. It was an enjoyable round, even if we did stink up the course. The good news is this: I'm finally showing enough patience with my driver to hit it semi-reliably. If I could manage to get out regularly...
OOPSLA 2006, which will be held in historic Portland, Oregon (USA), the birthplace of OOPSLA 20 years ago. OOPSLA is the premier gathering of professionals from industry and academia--practitioners, researchers, students, educators, managers, and more--all sharing their experiences with today's object technologies and its offshoots.
OOPSLA includes so many different things that you can't take them all in. It's wise to plan your week. Your registration fee gets you access to demos, workshops, panel discussions, invited speakers, birds-of-a-feather sessions, lightning talks, posters, and practitioner reports.
You can also check out DesignFest®, the Dynamic Languages Symposium, Essays, Research Papers, the Most Influential Papers Awards, the Doctoral Symposium, and the Student Research Competition. In addition, the Onward! track is “the place to reveal the revolutionary, air the provocative, and expose the subversive.”
Alan Knight, Vassili Bykov, Travis Griggs, Andreas Hiltner and Suzanne Fortman will be representing Cincom Smalltalk at the conference this year. If you’re concerned that with such a full agenda you might not have a chance to meet with a Cincom representative and you want to schedule a chat, contact Suzanne Fortman.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Dave Winer's difficulties with his iPod illustrate one thing: even for the technically literate, the blocks on fair use can be a royal pain. Now, I've had numerous people tell me that you can manage music/podcasts (etc) from multiple (I think it's up to five) machines if:
- You have the iPod formatted for Windows instead of for Mac (otherwise, your Windows machine will see it as read-only)
- You change from auto-synch to manual
I haven't tried that though, since it didn't seem obvious. What I did is buy XPlay, a nice little application that lets me manage the iPod from my laptop (which doesn't have my music library - the disk is too small and too filled). When I travel, I grab podcasts from BottomFeeder, and then use XPlay to move them over to the iPod. No fuss, no muss - I'd recommend XPlay to anyone. It's less than $30 too!
Technorati Tags: iPod
Based on this, and the last few weeks, I'm guessing that the residents of Red Sox Nation are desperately awaiting the end of this season, so that they can get on to next one. Since the 5 game sweep in August, it's been all downhill for the Sox - they may not even end up in second place in the AL East at this rate.
Meanwhile, the biggest worry for the Yankees is Mariano Rivera - will he be 100 percent for the playoffs? I'm looking forward to the post season - the Yankees may not win it all (anything can happen in a short series) - but they look like the team to beat right now. It's conceivable that we could have a 2000 recap - another subway series. Now that would be cool.
Well - first it was O'Reilly's PR firm thinking they owned the rights to "Web 2.0". Now, Apple thinks they own the rights to the term "podcast". Is there a special school for lawyers and PR staff, where they learn to be brain dead morons?
Today's Smalltalk daily is brief, and covers the notion of abstract classes in Smalltalk. Navigate to the HTML page here.
I'm headed to Cincinnati for 3 days - I just love these early AM flights. I'll be back online later.
I'm in Cincinnati this week, working with the ObjectStudio 8 team. Our plan is to release it in beta form this winter, with a fully supported release coming in the summer (possibly winter - that decision is still up in the air). We are working with one early adopter now, and are in the process of adding additional pre-beta sites. If you're interested, contact me.
What is OS8, you ask? ObjectStudio used to be called Enfin, and has been around for quite awhile. It's a Windows specific Smalltalk system, which excels at building client/server applications. We've been adding integration with VisualWorks for awhile now, and OS8 is a big move in that direction. Using VW namespaces, we are hosting ObjectStudio inside VisualWorks. We are maintaining the OS library behavior, even as we move into the VW environment.
What's cool about this? Well, OS users get a much faster VM, and immediate access to all the VW libraries they've been hankering for: WS*, Web Toolkit, Cryptography - the whole nine yards. Meanwhile, VW developers get native Windows integration - native GUIs and embedded ActiveX controls. It's great stuff for everyone, and we're pretty excited about it.
The game console business could be the thing that pushes Sony into extinction. That's right: not just out of the game business, but out of business completely. Consider the numbers:
Sony has a book value of $27 billion. It has nearly $9 billion in cash. Sony's not going anywhere. Or is it?
Sony is looking at a potential for demise it has never faced before. With the failure of its TV and music electronics businesses and its up-and-down movie business, it has relied more and more on the video game business to keep profits up.
The problem is, the game business is a black hole. Sony will be eating somewhere between $200 and $400 (and I think those numbers are conservative, as they don't include sales and marketing) on each sale of a PS3. From a business perspective, I think they would be better off scrapping the PS3, taking the PR hit on that, and either:
- exiting the game console business
- follow Nintendo's lead, and build systems that can be sold at a profit
I don't expect either one to happen soon - there's too much pride and money wrapped up in the PS3. Like any large project, even the prospect of sure doom isn't enough to derail it. You see this sort of lemming-like charge to the cliff in software projects all the time - but here Sony is doing it with hardware. I'm hardly the only one ringing this bell; CNet has been on this story too:
In a February story for CNet, it was estimated that the total cost of components for the PS3 would be in the neighborhood of $725 to $905 -- and that was before it was rumored that Sony would have to put PS2 components in the box because the new chip lacked the ability to emulate the earlier PSOne and PS2 games.
The CNet story said, "The materials price estimates do not include marketing, software development, advertising or other costs, which will push Sony's total cost per console even higher."
Meanwhile, faced with the prospect of continued high costs - Sony is engaging in corporate denial:
Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi was not ambivalent about the pricing of the console -- he kept saying it was a premium machine, sold at a premium price. Want a PS3? Work a little harder!
"Our ideal," Kutaragi said, "is for consumers to think to themselves, 'OK, I'll work more hours and buy it.' We want people to feel that they want it, no matter what."
If Sony were the only vendor in this space, that might work. The XBox 360 is a nice system though, and it's a lot less expensive (never mind the Wii, which at $250 will be in the "what the hell" range for most prospective buyers). The loss numbers for Sony start to look very, very ugly: $1.8 B by April if they drop $300 per box, $2.4 B if they drop $400 per box. That's a huge bleed, and it's going to get attention all the way up the food chain at Sony HQ.
I think it's past time to put out the "sell" order on Sony stock.
It looks like we'll have a German language (possibly others as well) version of BottomFeeder available shortly - Georg Heeg has been helping me get the code cleaned up for that (I changed over to message catalogs awhile back, but had a few issues here and there). The next major release should be available beyond English - very cool.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I've got another fix for the duplicate item problem posted. The problem: after loading it, you'll see a large number of dupes (I changed the way the GUID is fixed in the absence of one in the feed). After that, it should be better. If you open up the "Execute Smalltalk Code" workspace and execute this after the update, the change won't generate as many duplicates:
RSS.RSSFeedManager default getAllItems do: [:each | (each link notNil and: ['*feedburn*' match: each link]) ifTrue: [each guid: each link]]
Just highlight that code, pop the context menu, and pick "do it"
Take this for what it's worth; as I sit here, I haven't watched any of the videos yet. That sort of leads to my point though. The lead item is an interview with Jonathan Schwartz, Sun CEO. I'm interested in that, but I don't know that I want to devote 35 minutes to it in front of my PC. If it were audio, I'd simply push it to my iPod and listen to it during my next workout.
Some of the items are video oriented; the walk around with Thomas Hawk, for instance. But the interview, and the language war thing - I'd much rather have those as audio. I can listen to audio without my full attention, but that's simply not the case with video. Of the eight things he has, I'd say that five of them would go to audio easily (and be more useful that way, IMHO - but I realize that people might disagree).
I'll probably watch some of them; I just wish there were an audio only option. Maybe Scoble could do that as well? Strip out the audio to an mp3 file, and give us options? I'd prefer audio, some other people will prefer video.
Update: Holy smokes, the Schwartz video is 240+ MB. If that were available as an audio only mp3, I bet it would be 15 mb or so. For an interview, that's a lot to download...
I had a conversation with Eduard Maydanik (he's the one who's far from the mic), Andreas Hiltner, and Mark Grinnell this afternoon - we talked about ObjectStudio 7 and ObjectStudio 8. Here's a photo that includes Andreas, Mark, and Eduard:
From the left, that's Eduard and Mark, Peter Hatch and Travis Griggs, and Andreas. You can grab the podcast here.
In today's Smalltalk Daily, I look at adding methods to an existing class, but unlike yesterday - with testing. This involves loading some extra components into the system.
Update: I've pulled the enclosures, because BlogLines is auto-playing them. I'm not going to go back and update the ones from last week, but I'll pull the enclosures starting from last Monday. Stupid BlogLines...
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
"If I come back next year, I know that the offseason will be the hardest of my career," he said.
Wait a minute. Did he just say if?
"Well, going into next year," he backtracked.
That's going to keep Red Sox Nation buzzing during the offseason. If Schilling does bow out, that will leave a huge hole in their starting rotation - enough so that I'd expect the Blue Jays to be the major AL East competition for the Yankees next year.
If you load yesterday's update, you'll see some of your feeds producing a crop of duplicates. That will settle down over time, but to make that stop, you can use the context menu option Update>>Regenerate Feed on each feed that has problems. What that will do is repopulate the feed from scratch. If you still have problems after that, let me know about it.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
If anyone thought that ISPs were going to get away with setting up their own private gardens, they should have gotten a wake up call this morning. Read through this Bostonist post to see what I mean - by the second update, it's clear that the "blockage" of Google services was due to a router problem. In the meantime, the story hit techmeme (and everywhere else) - and I expect that Comcast's helpdesk was inundated with calls.
Bottom line: Attempts to create walled gardens aren't going to succeed, period. If this level of uproar accompanied a transient outage, imagine the PR nightmare that would follow a real downgrade.
It's been a good three days (other than the small cold I picked up), but I'm ready to head home. There's cheap WiFi here at CVG (Cincinnati airport), so I can get updated before I board.
Joel doesn't think much of agile development methodologies, and approvingly quotes Steve Yegge (who works at Google) - who also dislikes agile (a lot). Yegge goes on to describe what they do at Google as "good agile":
- there are managers, sort of, but most of them code at least half-time, making them more like tech leads.
- developers can switch teams and/or projects any time they want, no questions asked; just say the word and the movers will show up the next day to put you in your new office with your new team.
- Google has a philosophy of not ever telling developers what to work on, and they take it pretty seriously.
- developers are strongly encouraged to spend 20% of their time (and I mean their M-F, 8-5 time, not weekends or personal time) working on whatever they want, as long as it's not their main project.
- there aren't very many meetings. I'd say an average developer attends perhaps 3 meetings a week, including their 1:1 with their lead.
- it's quiet. Engineers are quietly focused on their work, as individuals or sometimes in little groups or 2 to 5.
- there aren't Gantt charts or date-task-owner spreadsheets or any other visible project-management artifacts in evidence, not that I've ever seen.
- even during the relatively rare crunch periods, people still go get lunch and dinner, which are (famously) always free and tasty, and they don't work insane hours unless they want to.
Unasked by Joel, and left unexplained by Steve: everything at Google stays in beta, pretty much forever. Hmm. Why do you suppose that is? Well, you get a bunch of "really smart" people together, don't put any product/project management together, and let them move around at will... what do you get? You get a bunch of projects that end up being 80% done (i,e., all of the technically "interesting" pieces are done, but that boring "polish" stuff isn't).
Agile is no silver bullet, but deciding not to have a plan isn't one either. Yegge can get back to me when anything beyond search moves out of beta over there, and when a "delete" button being added to gmail isn't touted as the greatest thing ever. Oh, and speaking of a boring task that someone at Google might consider paying attention to - the splog empire that Blogspot has become. Oh, wait - that's not "interesting", so of course none of the smart guys over there will touch it.
We had a group dinner at PF Chang's last night - these two shots were taken after way too much food :)
That was taken by Suzanne. From the left side that's Sherry, me, Bruce, Juerg, Pete, Andreas, Georg, Mark, and George. The next one includes Suzanne:
In today's Smalltalk Daily (follow the link), I go over the debugger, with a brief introduction to breakpoints. Tomorrow I'll cover some of the niftier features.
As I mentioned yesterday, I've stopped providing enclosures for these, given the odd behavior in BlogLines.
James McGivern boils down herd behavior quite nicely this morning:
We did have a brief conversation on analyst firms and my perspective on them. I do believe that all vendors I interact with should pay their fees to the large firms regardless of the value they bring. Not paying causes problems for us. It is easier within a large enterprise to acquire new technology when an indepedent third-party says it is a leader than when there is only your own evidence to support. Likewise, I know that my peers at work are incredibly brilliant and can see solutions in the marketplace before others but the real key is that we need to also choose products that are sustainable and will be used by other large enterprises.
So let me get this straight: you think small firms should pay large analyst firms so that you don't need to do actual work? If that's not enterprisey, I don't know what is.
Next time someone tries to "put a bug up your ear", you better hope it's not like this:
"Someone said I could have popped my ear drum," Asp said. "...But when I got to the [clinic], they took a look in there and saw it, and I was like, 'What the heck? How did I get a bug in my ear?'"
Asp could hear it, and it nearly drove him nuts.
"It was digging and biting into my eardrum," he said. "That went on for, like, 15 minutes. I could hear it -- a whole bunch of loud popping noises. It hurt pretty bad."
I missed this post from Redmonk guy Cote a couple of weeks ago - apparently, he got torched by the old "hotel redirected all my feed urls" bug:
I've been curious over the past few days why Vienna hasn't been pulling in new items from my feeds. So, I just went to dig around for more info, and was horrified to find out that all the URLs for my feeds -- you know, 100's of them -- to the "register for WiFi" page for the hotel. That is, I'm going to have to go track down all the URLs for the feeds and fix them.
It amazes me that there are aggregators left that fall prey to this. I got bitten by this in BottomFeeder a couple of years ago, and I promptly coded a check for it:
- Cache the old feed for any permanent redirect
- If we get more than a handful of redirects, and they are all to the same url, restore the cached urls and go offline
That's saved my bacon more than once since.
Leo mentions that TWiT has started to take ads. Interestingly he gets quite a bit of pushback from listeners saying things like "now that you've started running ads, you'll never be honest about Dell again..." Certainly, this is no different than technology magazines or technology Web sites, but people feel differently about the editorial conflict of interest. Perhaps this is because podcasts are more intimate? He's not sure.
That's an interesting tidbit - I think it falls into the narrowcast model. When you have a magazine that's trying to appeal to a wide audience, the ties don't seem as close - but with the niche audience of a podcast, they seem to. I haven't paid much attention to the ads on TWiT, and I listen every week - great show, IMHO.
Scoble congratulates Podshow on their second round of VC money:
Congrats to PodTech competitors Podshow, who just got $15 million in a second round of VC financing
Meanwhile, Jason Calacanis is extremely skeptical:
Lest there be no question, we are now in a full-blown bubble. What on earth Podshow is going to do with almost $25M in funding is anyone's guess, but it's not going to end well I can tell you that. To raise this money they must have had a $35-60M pre-money valuation. That means the VCs are going to look for a $300-500M exit at the very least, and that means they need to get to $30-50M in revenue. Not sure I see that happening.
What I wonder is this: what do they need that level of cash for - storage space and bandwidth? Staff? What, exactly? I have to agree with one of his commenters too: their website does suck. That may not matter that much; I get their content via iTunes. Of course, that means that most of their revenue is ad based. In a narrowcast environment, can you sell ads up to those numbers? I don't know, but it sounds like a lot.
Steve Rubel spots a trend:
CNET has expanded its presence online with a new virtual outpost inside Second Life . The space includes a building that looks like CNET's offices in San Francisco offices. It has an amphitheater where CNet reporters will conduct interviews and host events. According to 3PointD, other tech media brands will soon follow into Second Life. As this occurs watch for the PR media tour to become a fixture for certain clients inside the metaverse.
How far away from "Better than Life" are we, anyway?
Today's Smalltalk Daily covers a few more debugger features, along with some tips on how to use them.
Jeff Jarvis notes the bloat that still exists in mainstream media productions:
At home, I took the exact same script and with some photos to illustrate my points and produced the segment alone, in my den, on two programs: iMovie and VideoCue, a Mac competitor to Visual Communicator, which gives you a teleprompter and the ability to drag-and-drop graphics, lower thirds, photos, audio, or video onto your script so the’re all recorded along with you (no need for editing). I’ve used these tools before and had to brush up on them anyway for my CUNY class. They make it incredibly easy to make TV. Will my segments look at good as CBS’? Well, that depends on your definition of good but probably not. Still, the thoughts and the talking head spewing them were exactly the same.
So compare: probably a dozen people involved in my little 1:30 at CBS; one person at Buzzmachine World Headquarters. Networks will collapse from their bloat.
I haven't gotten in video at all yet, but my daughter has - and yes, it looks like it's not that hard to create decent looking content (especially if your definition of "decent" is of the "talking pundit" variety). I doubt that the volume of people involved on the network side adds enough value to justify the numbers.
In VisualWorks, we ship profiling tools (both time and space). What if you use Squeak? Well, Andreas Raab explains class MessageTally and its uses here. Good stuff if you need to look at performance issues in a Squeak app.
I spoke to Chip Dice this afternoon - he's the lead develop at Forest Investments. he sent me a few screenshots of their financial applications - there's going to be a lot more on that in a few days over at smalltalk-central, as they have a screencast on Smalltalk apps coming - Chip's is featured. Anyway, here's a shot of his "By Industry" screen (click through for the larger image):
Anyway, grab the mp3 for the podcast here. Enjoy!
Ars Technica reports that Sony has bitten the bullet: they've issued a global recall on Li-ion batteries:
Sony has finally bitten the bullet and issued a worldwide recall of all Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries used in notebook computers. Earlier in the day, Lenovo/IBM joined the ranks of Dell, Apple, and Toshiba in issuing a recall for all Sony batteries that ship with their notebooks.
With the PS3 mess, this is the last thing that Sony needs.
Technorati Tags: batteries
Technorati Tags: batteries
Stuart Halloway explains why DRM sucks - it punishes those of us who follow the rules, while leaving the actual pirates free to run wild:
Well, thanks a lot. As a power user and a technophile, I go through a lot of computers. Two of the others are in my office in Chapel Hill, backups in case this one goes down. I buy premium (priced!) hardware and software, and I buy lots of it. I am an intellectual property Boy Scout, because it is the right thing to do, and because it is in my professional interest. And what thanks do I get? A big fat "You don't own what you paid for until you travel home and prove it (again)."
The real pirates have tools to get around that kind of problem. The rest of us? We just take it in the shorts.
Technorati Tags: music
Michael and I recorded episode 3 last night (actually, early this morning here; I was doing this at 1:40 am). I've just finished the cleanup and mixing of the audio and gotten it posted. We discussed what we normally load into a development image - mostly Michael, actually (my list is way shorter :) ). Anyway, feedback is always welcome - enjoy.
Another good week for BottomFeeder downloads: averaged 245 per day. The details:
Next up: the HTML page accesses by tool:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Site traffic continues to rise, and the Mozilla share is staying high as well - although Opera is sneaking up a wee bit. Last, the RSS accesses by tool:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||7.3%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||2.6%|
|RSS 2 Email||1.4%|
There's still a ton of tool diversity out there.
Peter Fisk is taking a different path with Vista Smalltalk:
Vista Smalltalk is different since the parser, compiler and basic classes are built into the runtime - there is no need to load an image file to execute simple Smalltalk commands.
I think there's room for both approaches, and this is worth watching
I think this move by Debian - forcing Firefox to change its name on that distro - illustrates one of the reasons that it's hard to take the OSS purists seriously:
The Firefox logo is trademarked, so Debian doesn't consider it to be Free and will not include it as part of its distribution. Mozilla claims that using the Firefox name without the official branding is a trademark violation.
Yeah, clarity for end users matters so much less than a trademark on a logo. What a bunch of buffoons.