Jonathan Schwartz (Sun CEO) notes that the regulations on transparency don't really take the internet into account, and asks the SEC to start doing so. Tim Bray chimes in with a few technical suggestions. This is the kind of forward thinking I'd like to see more of in this industry; without it (and with heavyweight stuff like SarbOx), there are growing reasons to not take a company public.
Gordon Weakliem makes a point that should have been obvious, but wasn't (at least to me):
As someone pointed out in the comments, you want this information to be accepted and managed by a third party (e.g. a regulatory agency), not managed by the company itself, at least for the financial filings. How about for press releases and the like - not-regulatory filings, but still material data? For similar reasons, I don't think that simply publishing to the web is sufficient in itself. I can name at least one popular blogger who's been taken to task for modifying or deleting postings and has been accused of "rewriting history" for doing that. There's certainly the potential for that if a corporate weblog were the exclusive source for those releases.
This is in reference to my earlier post on this stuff.
Dan Ingalls and David Griswold would like to do something with the open sourcing of the Strongtalk VM, and are inviting Smalltalkers to talk about it.
I was looking at this post from Steve Rubel, who links to some FeedBurner stats: apparently, the average podcast feed they have sports 70 subscribers. I was curious about the take-up on the podcasts and screencasts I've been doing, so I went to logs - and turned up some encouraging numbers.
Over the last week, there have been 181 unique accesses to my screencast specific feed, and 76 unique IP accesses that have come back at least once. On the podcast side, the numbers are 224 and 80, respectively. For the actual podcasts, the download numbers have been ranging between a low of around 40, and a high of almost 400.
I'm pretty happy with those numbers, given that I've just started.
BattleStar Galactica returns this evening, and that's going to give me a headache - the Yankees are playing too. Thank goodness for the PVRs...
The NYC STUG will be hearing about building shrink wrapped software in Smalltalk:
Mark Pirogovsky, a frequent visitor to NYC Smalltalk , will provide us with a presentation on his experiences building shrink wrapped Smalltalk applications. He has actually worked on three large shrink wrapped ST apps.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday October 18th, 2006.
More details on our blog.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
eWeek has taken notice of podcasting, and has a write up of how it's being used by some large entities: IBM and MassMutual, for instance. Those two seem to be mainly doing internal communications and education, where the benefit is clear: for a far flung company, it's easier to put information out as an mp3 than it is to organize a cross timezone conference call.
My podcasting falls more into the Marcom area that eWeek mentions: I'm promoting Cincom Smalltalk (and Smalltalk in general) with the podcasts and screencasts I've been doing. It's a good way of getting information out that can be used asynchronously - and it's also inexpensive. My total investment to date has been downloading free software, buying a decent headset microphone, and buying a digital audio recorder for use in face to face recording.
It's all pretty simple, although audio editing does take time. I can definitely see where video podcasting would be a large step up in terms of work.
Technorati Tags: marketing
PR Differently reports that the WSJ has Google buying YouTube:
Journal is reporting Google might acquire You-tube, a deal worth a reported $1.6 billion dollars.
Hmm - if that's true, we'll get to see whether
Calacanis and Cuban are correct: their theory is that any deep pocketed acquirer of YouTube will be sued over copyright infringement immediately. Now, Google could probably withstand that, but the question is: why would they want to? Has Google already gone to the RIAA and MPAA and made nice ahead of this deal?
Update: Interesting: Calacanis thinks Google would be a good home for YouTube, and lays out some reasonable thoughts on why he thinks so
Yesterday's loss was a good game - 4-3. Tonight? Not only did the Yankees get taken out 6-0, they got shut out by Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers? Back when he pitched for the Yankees, I dreaded every trip he took to the mound. Either he just had the game of his life, or the entire Yankee lineup took sedatives before the game. What a complete breakdown.
This week, Michael and I were joined by David Buck. We discussed the Strongtalk VM, and what (if any) impact it will have on the Smalltalk community. You can grab the mp3 file here. In other news, we learned that Michael can foresee the future - you'll have to listen in to get that :)
This is for listing in the Odeo directory
My Odeo Channel (odeo/1affb33805715223)
It's that time again. BottomFeeder downloads went at a good clip: 234 per day. The details:
Next, the HTML page accesses for the week:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
About the same as usual, but overall traffic is up. The RSS stuff:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||7.6%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.9%|
|RSS 2 Email||1.1%|
Must be more IE 7 out there, because IE usage against RSS/Atom is climbing.
If you want to subscribe to my podcast feed, and have your podcatcher (for example, iTunes) pick up the podcast, simply subscribe using this url:
I don't have any iTunes metadata associated with that feed, but the enclosures will get picked up. I've subscribed myself in iTunes to test it, and it works fine.
Technorati Tags: iTunes
Blaine Buxton reflects on why Smalltalk failed to cross over into the mainstream:
The first part of the quote is right. Smalltalk is too much change for most developers to accept. You have a new syntax to learn, a new environment to learn, and a completely different way of thinking. It's too much for a lot of developers. It's human nature. An image-less Smalltalk would have a nicer entry point since developers love their editors (you spend a lot of time there and well, when you learn one well, you don't want to leave it). The last part of the quote really hurt. I see myself as a lot of things. I see myself as rubyist, a smalltalker, a java programmer, and a bunch more. But, I can see where the arrogance of certain Smalltalkers can detract from the true message. It makes me sad. Smalltalk is a cool language to program in and I love talking about it. But, I know it has warts like anything else. I hope no one ever sees me as an arrogant Smalltalker. I want them to see me as passionate and thoughtful.
Much of that is true, although the stupidity of ParcPlace during the 90's should not be under-estimated. It was well nigh impossible to get Smalltalk inexpensively (much less free) for a very long time.
Part of the problem of "freeing" Smalltalk from the image is that Smalltalk is - to a very large extent - defined by the image. Sure, Vista Smalltalk is going without one, but that's new, and we'll have to see how that goes. Without the "live object" feel of an image, I'm not really sure that you have a full bore Smalltalk.
Technorati Tags: development
Anytime you go into a game with Jared Wright as your "do or die" guy, you have a problem. I thought before this game that the Tigers will take this game (and the series) if they scored first, and - here we are in the second inning, and it's already 3-0 Detroit.
The Yankees are flat. There just doesn't seem to be any gas in the tank at all - not unlike the 2004 LCS with Boston, game 7. They might come back, but at this point, I really don't think so.
Well, this is interesting. Via RabbitBites, I came across this YouTube profile. Fascinating data there - 24,000+ videos watched in 1 week of being a member? That plays into a few questions raised by RabbitBites and by TechDirt - are the numbers for YouTube to be believed? Makes me go hmmm.
Technorati Tags: marketing
I have to hand it to the Tigers - they really want to win. The Yankees aren't just flat, they are gasping for air. The pitching is horrid, and the batters are chasing anything that's in the neighborhood of the plate. Unless something weird happens in the next few innings, this could easily end up being a laugher for the Tigers.
The pounding the Tigers just handed the Yankees shows something simple: A lineup full of power hitters is a nice thing - until it dawns on you that the pitchers have to go for nine innings. Over the course of a full season, the bats were lively enough, in the post season - especially in a short series - good pitching is key.
The Yankees need to trade away a few of those power hitters and get some young arms that don't suck. If I see Jared Wright in a Yankee uniform next April, I think I'll just scream. It's like the 80's all over again...
Does this amount to anything more than argument by assertion? It's long, and he makes some points I agree with, but in all the verbiage about how agile development is just a superstition, I don't see any actual evidence being brought forth. Does this differ much from what he accuses the agile crowd of? Oh, and the cartoon:
Doc Searls wants to invert the CRM relationship and have customers in control of of more of the relationship:
We need to equip the customer with something that facilitates relating to vendors - and takes some of the relationship burden off the vendors as well.
As he notes elsewhere in his post, a lot of the problem is that we (customers, that is) don't always know what we want. Think back - before mp3 players in general (and iPods in particular) broke onto the scene, who knew they wanted one? There are plenty of products like that, and I see a real problem with having prospective customers voice their inchoate desires.
Additionally, most of the time we don't really want a relationship with a vendor. For instance: I bought a nice digital audio recorder (hand held, for doing in person podcasts) over the summer. I shopped around online, picked what I wanted off Amazon, and ordered it. At no point in time did I have any interest in forming a "relationship" with Olympus (the vendor I ultimately bought from.
But wait - what if I'm in the market again 2 years from now? Well, I barely have the patience to retain critical business information I'm being paid to keep - I'm not about to expend effort to maintain some kind of VRM system. Heck, I couldn't be bothered to keep a calendar until Google made it virtually effortless. I see where Doc is going, but I have doubts as to how many people are willing to expend the effort to get there. Not because it's a bad idea; simply because it would take effort...
Technorati Tags: advertising
Patrick Logan notes that many people are already using images, and just don't realize it:
But the thing is *all* my languages are now image based. Ever since I started using VMWare, my entire machine's state is saved and restored, rolled forward with snapshots, linked and branched, etc.
Also, consider your the hibernation feature of your laptop: that's nothing more than an image snapshot as well.
Bryce Kampjes just announced a 2 day Smalltalk event at the JP Morgan offices in London:
We're holding another Smalltalk Users Group on Friday the 20th with a Camp Smalltalk on Saturday the 21st of October. Andy Bower will be speaking on Friday along with John Aspinall on ReStore.
I'll be doing something on Exupery at the Camp Smalltalk and Felix will be working with Smalltalk/X. Other projects are welcome, please add them to the list.
Details on the Wiki pages below:
If you plan to come please RSPV on the either web page at least 2 days before so we can tell corporate security to let you in the building.
Sounds like a good time.
I'm reading "The Confident Hope of a Miracle", which is about the Spanish Armada's failed attack on England in 1588. There was a passage describing the Armada's leave-taking of Spain which reminded me of a lot of the software failures you read about:
As the vast Armada set sail on the afternoon tide, the Pope's special emissary to Lisbon sent a report to the Vatican of a conversation he had held with one of the highest officer's in the Spanish fleet.
"If you meet the English Armada in the Channel do you expect to win the battle?"
"How can you be sure?"
"It's very simple. It is well known that we fight in God's cause, so when we meet the English, God will surely arrange matters so that we can grapple and board them, either by sending some strange freak of weather, or, more likely, just by depriving the English of their wits. If we can come to close quarters, Spanish valour and Spanish steel (and the great masses of soldiers we shall have on board) will make our victory certain. But unless God helps us by a miracle, the English, who have faster and handier ships than ours and many more long-range guns, and who know their advantage just as well as we do, will never close with us at all but stand aloof and knock us to pieces with their culverins without our being able to do them any serious hurt. So, we are sailing against England in the confident hope of a miracle"
If your business or project plan resembles that last paragraph, then it's probably time to pack it in. I'd wager that a lot of "web 2.0" business plans are setting sail in the confident hope of a miracle.
So, let's put this in perspective. Jason's company markets solutions to advertisers targeting blogs. Presumably it costs quite a lot of money to get your product on Engadget, while we can place your product pretty much anywhere you want for anything from 20 bucks up. So, nothing to gain? How about badmouthing the competition? WebLogs Inc markets products through blogs, so does PayPerPost. Difference? We're cheaper.
Hmm. Maybe Jason needs to use smaller words when he talks to Peter. Here's the difference:
Jason..... isn't.... hiding.... his.... affiliations
There, spacing the words might help Peter grasp the issue. PayPerPost pays people to say nice things about a product, but without those people revealing that they are being paid. It's not at all like what Calacanis is doing - last time I checked, it was quite obvious that he's being paid by Netscape. I'm on a smaller stage here, but hey, I'm doing the same thing - promoting Cincom Smalltalk as part of my job as Product Manager.
What PayPerPost is doing is like Product Placement in tv and movies - except the blog audience doesn't know that the products are being placed. Back when Willow opened up her Apple notebook on Buffy, we all knew that Apple was paying for that spot. With their bloggers, we don't. It's like having an acquaintance tell you to see some new movie, and finding out later that he had been slipped $20 by the studio to say nice things about it.
It's spam. Nothing more, nothing less. And it has every bit as much value.
Well, here's a sign of change in the music business: Tower Records is gone:
After a lengthy auction stretching over two days, a federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of Sacramento-based Tower Records to Great American Group, which plans to liquidate the music retailer.
I think this is a combination of factors. First, retailers like Target and Wal-Mart started pushing the retail price down. Then, online stores like Amazon made impulse buying easier online. Finally, Apple added the music store, and made instant gratification possible. Left out in the cold: old style retailers in thrall to the high prices they had become accustomed to.
On the other hand, I know my wife will miss Tower - she really liked their online store.
Thomas Hawk has some issues with the mainstream media, and he makes this point about their tech reporting:
When they do write about tech it's mostly superficial puff pieces that are boring and designed to be read by the person who doesn't really understand technology.
The thing is, it's hardly just technology that gets treated like that. I notice that the typical coverage of anything that I know something about tends to suck (the main exception being sports). This is a general media problem, not simply a problem with tech reporting. The big media companies think that you can have a generic reporter cover any story; it hasn't really occurred to them that subject area experts might be useful.
Technorati Tags: reporting
I released a number of fixes and enhancements for BottomFeeder and the posting tool this morning - I added the ability to add iTunes tags to specific posts, and to have feeds with that information attached. Along the way, a few bugs cropped up, and I just got them fixed - grab the updates if you're interested - things do work fine without them if you're not that concerned.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I guess I have to classify this as media - I was listening to TWit this afternoon while jogging, and the TWiT crew - especially Leo - had nothing good to say about the (increasingly credible) rumors that Google is acquiring YouTube. I'm still wondering about the lawsuit impact - Google has deep pockets, and there are a lot of content owners clamoring for bits of YouTube's hide. On the other hand, Google isn't filled with dummies - they've got to have a plan for that.
Back to the main bit. This was first reported by Mike Arrington, on TechCrunch. Based on all the chatter today (NY Times, FT, etc), this is starting to look real. So I had to laugh when I heard Laporte taking these reports to task, saying that they were all based "on a blogger" - he didn't even bother to give the source. Sounds to me like Arrington had his antennas properly attuned for this one - and it looks like Laporte might want to issue an apology. For chuckles, here's the show notes for episode 72:
Vista ship dates, Windows Genuine disadvantage, and why Google will never buy YouTube.
Scoble points to the press release - Google is buying YouTube. Looks like "everyone's" assumptions about YouTube (including mine) were flat wrong; they got their payout. As noted by TechCrunch, their investors got a hell of a payday too.
For lots of details - head on over to TechCrunch now. All I can say is - wow. I seriously did not expect this.
Scoble lays out why you would want a PS3 (with the price caveat):
If you are like me, and have a 60-inch HDTV, and want the latest gear, you should be at a store tomorrow putting in an order for a Sony PS3. They go on sale tomorrow YouNEWB reports . At up to $600, though, these aren’t gonna be cheap Christmas gifts.
And then why you might balk:
I already have an Xbox. I’m not sure I’ll get a Playstation yet, though. I don’t have enough time to watch the HD-DVD’s that Netflix has been sending me, so don’t think I’ll need BlueRay.
There's the problem. I don't have an XBox 360, but I am planning to buy a Wii. After that, if I get a second system it will be an XBox 360. The two of those combined are going to come in under the price of the PS3. After that, I seriously doubt that I'll be looking to add another console to the mix.
Here's why Google isn't afraid of being relentlessly sued by content owners over YouTube: they are (and have been) negotiating deals with them:
SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced a strategic business relationship designed to make the music company's expansive music video collection available for online streaming at no cost to users. Starting this month, users can watch thousands of videos from SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT on Google Video. In the coming months, users will also be able to access content from SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT artists through Google's partner websites in its AdSense network.
I would not be at all surprised to see a bunch of these sorts of agreements coming in the near term. It looks like Google has more than just a smart tech staff.
I submitted the podcast feed here to the iTunes music store earlier today, and got notified that it was accepted. That's pretty cool - it should show up in the podcast/technology section sometime in the next few hours. In the meantime, you can subscribe via the Advanced>>Subscribe to podcast menu pick in iTunes, using the link above. The feed has all the appropriate iTunes meta data now, too.
Joe Torre will remain as manager of the New York Yankees, finally getting the word from owner George Steinbrenner after the team's surprise elimination from the playoffs last weekend.
Torre is not the problem. The problem is the lack of stable pitching, and I'd be willing to point that finger at the Randy Johnson acquisition. How many young arms could have been brought along and developed for the salary Johnson gets? Johnson is my age, for gosh sakes, and that's not a good thing for long term development.
The Yankees need to apply some of the Moneyball lessons to their pitching staff.
Ramon Leon explains why he likes Seaside - and Smalltalk - so much:
I do most of the work for this server in Smalltalk, too. It's a Web Toolkit (VW) app server rather than Seaside, but I implement nearly everything at the Smalltalk level. Sure, I have CSS and HTML pages, but those are templates, and I don't really spend much time on them. It is a real pleasure to be dealing with Smalltalk code all the way down :)
Technorati Tags: seaside
The weapon of choice for citizen-created content with grid-wide takedown intent is the self-replicating object script. These scripts cause objects to go forth and multiply in such an enthusiastic fashion that SL spends nearly all its efforts on the “go forth and multiply” work, leaving little time for ordinary avatars' running, dance animations, flirting, role-playing, buying, and selling. While some might argue that the social interactions can always wait for another time, those trying to run a business in SL have to make their nut by covering at least their land tier payments, and any sort of downtime is a serious problem.
I find this to be too amusing for words :)
I've made this point before, but on a small scale (i.e., in discussing how many people actually contribute to a Wiki):
In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.
It apparently needs to be made over and over again - recall that Digg acted stunned by the idea that a small number of people were pushing most of the Diggs.
Go ahead and follow the link to Jakob Nielsen's site for data on participation rates.
Technorati Tags: social software
Thomas Hawk points out why people will keep using Bittorrent: doing things legally runs you smack into the wall, preventing you from watching content that you have legal access to:
So here's one more reason not to buy a TiVo Series 3. CNET's John P. Falcone has an article out about a glitch that prevents you from watching HBO with your TiVo Series 3 when using a JVC receiver.
"But when we moved onto another program--Revenge of the Sith, recorded off of HBO-HD--the screen suddenly went gray, with a TiVo warning emblazoned across the bottom: "Viewing is not permitted using the TiVo Digital Media Recorder. Try another TV input." Several other programs--Empire of the Sun (HDNet Movies), Simone (HBO-HD), and episodes of Battlestar Galactica (Universal HD) all yielded the same result."
The RIAA and MPAA scream about piracy losses, and then they set up stupid situations like this - which pretty much invite you to commit piracy just so that you can see stuff you paid for. What possible end does this achieve? HBO doesn't show ads anyway, so it's not like the time shifting does them any harm. This is just raw stupidity for the sake of raw stupidity.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
Doc Searls asks the salient question:
Forget about pilfered programs from Fox and all the BigCo jive. What would YouTube have been worth to Google if the user - generated stuff wasn't there?
Head on over to his place for his take on why Google Video never really took off, and why YouTube did. I was a skeptic on YouTube's chances, but I get what Doc is saying. Now, anyway. Six months ago, not so much :)
Read/Write Web explains why 2007 will be the breakout year for RSS, and it comes down to two things - first, Internet Explorer 7:
Despite the issues with RSS implementation in IE7 which Marshall Kirkpatrick rightly pointed out - and Dave Winer agreed with - IE7 still represents a major milestone for RSS. It will almost certainly be the most used browser in the world within 12 months
Don't underestimate the impact IE 7 will have here. It's still the most widely used browser, and it will stay that way for the forseeable future. I'm already seeing an uptick in IE usage in my logs (on the RSS side) due to the slow rollout of IE 7 beta. This is one thing that will help make RSS mainstream. The other - Outlook:
"Work with RSS Subscriptions from within Office Outlook 2007. You can now fully subscribe to and interact with Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds right from Office Outlook 2007, the most natural place to manage this kind of information. It’s easy to get started adding RSS feeds using the RSS Subscriptions home page within Office Outlook 2007."
Personally, I hate Outlook a lot, and won't work with it (I tried recently - I still hate it) - but I'm an outlier on this. Outlook is used by tons of people, and having built-in RSS support is going to really drive adoption, IMHO.
Threadwatch claims to have a source on this:
GOOG is looking at Facebook at a 2.3bil price. This could be a total joke on their part, but the source is solid.
Hmm. Another all stock deal, or is this just nonsense? I've been hearing a lot about Facebook on CNet's Buzz out Loud podcast, but haven't paid much attention. There is a parallel with the YouTube deal though: Google had video, but YouTube had gotten marketshare. Here, Google has Orkut, but again: Facebook has the eyeballs.
Update: From the comments, I found Jeremy Warner's skeptical take on the YouTube acquisition. I have a problem with his column though, based on this assertion:
So far, so positive. Yet there is also a more sinister reason why Google is buying YouTube. It is to do with the fact that the two have a common set of business values in the sense that neither seems to care a fig about the law of copyright. Both rely on the use of free content to drive their business. They therefore have next to no cost, or at least one so marginal that it wouldn't be recognised by any traditional media company.
We all know about YouTube's copyright issues, but Google? What is he talking about? The news aggregation case, perhaps? Google's book search (which seems to lead to higher sales; go figure)? He doesn't explain, either because he's engaged in hand waving, or thinks it's too obvious to bother with. I'd like to know what he's thinking.
Late last spring, when I got my cholesterol and triglyceride levels from my doctor, I realized that I was going to have to change my eating habits. The constant acid reflux should have been a hint, too (my wife brought that up more than once). Looking at my diet, I had been eating tons of junk - potato chips, fries - and some stuff that wasn't necessarily junk, but that I shouldn't eat a lot of - pasta and bread.
I also started making more time to exercise, and I've increased my daily jog from 20 minutes to 45+. Importantly, I've made sure to carve out time for exercise while I've been on the road, too - something I had stopped doing. The results have been pretty good - I've dropped about 20 pounds, I feel a lot better, the acid reflux is gone, and - more importantly - the cholesterol and triglyceride numbers dropped to safe levels.
This came to mind because a friend of mine had a friend of his (acquaintance of mine) die of a sudden heart attack last week. He was still in his 30's, a decade younger than me. That's sobering news, and made me realize that taking better care of myself isn't just about better fitting clothes.
Technorati Tags: health
That's the title of the new book I just picked up:
I've got a fascination with the Civil War period, and I liked "Battle Cry of Freedom", an earlier work by McPherson - he recommends this book by Jennifer Weber. This one looks very interesting as well. Here's the topic:
If Civil War battlefields saw vast carnage, the Northern home-front was itself far from tranquil. Fierce political debates set communities on edge, spurred secret plots against the Union, and triggered widespread violence, such as the New York City draft riots. And at the heart of all this turmoil stood Northern anti-war Democrats, nicknamed "Copperheads." Now, Jennifer L. Weber offers the first full-length portrait of this powerful faction to appear in almost half a century. Weber reveals how the Copperheads came perilously close to defeating Lincoln and ending the war in the South's favor. Indeed, by the summer of 1864, they had grown so strong that Lincoln himself thought his defeat was "exceedingly likely." Passionate defenders of civil liberties and states' rights--and often virulent racists--the Copperheads deplored Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, his liberal interpretation of the Constitution, and, most vehemently, his moves toward emancipation. Weber reveals how the battle over these issues grew so heated, particularly in the Midwest, that Northerners feared their neighbors would destroy their livestock, burn their homes, even kill them. Indeed, some Copperheads went so far as to conspire with Confederate forces and plan armed insurrections, including an attempt to launch an uprising during the Democratic convention in Chicago. Finally, Weber illuminates the role of Union soldiers, who, furious at Copperhead attacks on the war effort, moved firmly behind Lincoln. The soldiers' support for the embattled president kept him alive politically in his darkest times, and their victories on the battlefield secured his re-election. Disgraced after the war, the Copperheads melted into the shadows of history. Here, Jennifer L. Weber illuminates their dramatic story. Packed with sharp observation and fresh interpretations, Copperheads is a gripping account of the fierce dissent that Lincoln called "the fire in the rear."
I'm looking forward to this book.
Scoble doesn't paint the full picture here. Sure, it's easy to get credit in the U.S., and it's easy to buy a lot of expensive stuff. The problem is the debt load you end up building up:
Let me tell you how it works in the US of A. You walk into Best Buy. Ask for a credit application. Fill it out. They approve you for $10,000 on the spot (as long as you’ve paid all your credit card bills on time). You head over to the big screen department, pick out your $4,000 big screen and your $600 Playstation 3, and a $500 HD-DVD drive. Then you pay something like $140 per month in payments.
And the interest rate for these on the spot loans? In the neighborhood of 20%. Sure, you might get 12 months same as cash, but that's a bet the store is making with you - the bet being that you won't actually pay it all off in 12 months. If you don't, that 20% gets applied retroactively to the entire original amount, and then monthly to the revolving balance after that.
Here's a better idea: if you can't afford to spend that money upfront in disposable income (i.e., cash) - then don't. You'll be a whole lot happier at the end of each month when the bills come rolling in.
Technorati Tags: debt
I have to say I agree with Jon Udell here - the audio editing piece of podcasting is time consuming, and trying to get a decently normalized sound is hard:
Here's the deal, from my perspective as an audio newbie now plunged into the deep end. As my podcasting method has evolved, I've settled into two modes of editing. In one mode, I refine the content of the recording. That involves fine-grained internal editing -- trimming out excessive ums, uhs, and pauses -- as well as coarse-grained edits that remove less interesting passages in order to focus on the most essential parts of the conversation. Applying both methods typically reduces the final product to somewhere between 70% and 90% of the original length and, in my opinion, sharpens the result in a way that's well worth the investment of time. I've always enjoyed this kind of editing in the textual realm, and it turns out that I enjoy it in the audio realm as well.
The other mode involves the purely technical work of taming sometimes-noisy phone lines and evening out audio levels. As I've become more sensitive to audio quality, I've found myself spending more and more time on the leveling process. It's not only needed to balance the caller and the callee. There can be a ton of loudness variation just within the caller's track. When you start fiddling with that, you're on a slippery slope that leads straight into a pit of drudgery.
Like Jon, I stumbled across the Levelator (in my case, it was by listening to TWiT). It's a primitive looking tool, but it does the job - you put in audio that's all over the map, and you end up with something that's nicely normalized. There are artifacts - the tool sometimes picks up ambient noise and levels that, but I can see that in Audacity easily enough and chop it out. It's a very nice tool for this task.
There's the obvious "eyeballs to ads" thing, but this snippet from Slashdot makes an interesting point:
Google's core business model revolves around "fair use" and similar provisions of copyright law. I think they are most vulnerable in this area-- look at Belgium. So Google needed to buy YouTube for a couple of reasons related to this.
The first is because YouTube's business model also revolves around many of the same "fair use" provisions, and if YouTube loses its upcoming court cases, the fallout could fatally poison Google's business model. It would be very hard for Google to immunize itself from any judgments against YouTube that changed the interpretation of copyright law. Purchasing YouTube allows Google to directly counter such an attack with all its resources. It also decreases the likelihood of such an attack, since all the ambulance chasers who were smacking their lips in anticipation of an easy meal from YouTube's carcass are now slinking away, looking for easier prey that won't be able to fend them off for years with delaying tactics.
Under that theory, Google is a net loser if an (un-acquired) YouTube gets sued into oblivion, setting ugly fair use precedents on their way down. This way, Google gets to make their case (with their own high priced lawyers) if it comes to that. Note that Google went to visit Fox (MySpace) yesterday; they have a lot more clout in that meeting than YouTube would have had.
So to summarize: the YouTube buy wasn't just forward marketing, it was a defensive ploy. I might just buy that.
Joel reviews "Beyond Java", and then makes a good point about the hurdles you face as a software developer:
Programming consists of overcoming two things: accidental difficulties, things which are difficult because you happen to be using inadequate programming tools, and things which are actually difficult , which no programming tool or language is going to solve. An example of an accidental difficulty is manual memory management, e.g. “malloc” and “free,” or the singleton classes people create in Java because they don’t have top level functions. An example of something which is actually difficult is dealing with the subtle interactions between different parts of a program, for example, figuring out all the implications of a new feature that you just added.
The key is to try and get out from under the accidental difficulties. Manifest Typing is one of those:
Although Stevey [ed: Yegge] lists lots of accidental difficulties in Java, when you read the book, you will notice a theme, which seems to be that it’s explicit typing, where the programmer is asked to declare the type of things, that leads to most of the problems. For example, the inability to express data in Java code is mostly just a side effect of the requirement that types be declared explicitly. Yes, there are other problems in Java, but this is The Big Hairy Problem right at the heart.
To a historian, it’s starting to look like type declarations are one of those accidental difficulties that good programming languages can eliminate. Beyond Java is a good summary of the arguments and worth reading.
I certainly agree - I think the "Farside" cartoon Yegge used the other day is as good a summary of the problems as any.
Here's a great plan - one that could only be dreamed up by a set of geniuses running a spam outfit:
- Get Spamhaus to blacklist your domain due to the enormous volume of crap you spew out
- Be mad that you get blocked, and sue Spamhaus in a jurisdiction they don't reside in
- Noticing that your judgement for millions of bucks didn't have any impact (gee, the out of country company ignored you - shocker), whine to a federal judge about it
- To cap the whole thing, watch ICANN say "I can't"
The statement from ICANN is just delicious:
Even if ICANN were properly brought before the court in this matter, which ICANN has not been, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or place a client hold on Spamhaus.org or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so. Only the Internet registrar with whom the registrant has a contractual relationship - and in certain instances the Internet registry - can suspend an individual domain name.
Heh. For some reason, the term "tool" keeps coming to mind in reference to the angry spammers...