It's great to sit back down at my desk and be greeted by another round of "random verbiage spam", designed to defeat the Baysian filter I don't run. One script later, and it's all gone.
Dave Winer mentions an ad that I hate as well, and it was doing even less for me:
Ever see those ads on TV for a desipicable product called Head-On? The ads suck, and you know they did it deliberately because later they run an ad with a very unpleasant person saying how much the ad sucks, but they love the product. An ad for headache medicine that gives you a headache. Followed by a meta-ad (an ad about the ad) that gives you two headaches for the price of one. Oy.
Before I saw this post, I had no idea what the product was even for - the ads were so annoying that I just tuned them right out. I think the company behind this product needs to fire their ad agency, pronto.
Technorati Tags: advertising
Too see what happens when the music industry gets what they ask for, look no further than Canada, where they managed to get laws passed that apply fees to blank media and music players. As the market for that kind of media expands and blurs (phones that play music, USB sticks, etc), the regulations just start getting stupider - and they start offending more and more people. Consider:
The CPCC takes precisely the opposite approach. It is demanding an increase in the levy to 29 cents per blank CD, a price that would result in huge market distortions given that the collective admits the levy will account for more than half of the retail price of blank CDs.
Moreover, it is seeking to reinstate a levy of up to $75 on digital audio recorders such as the Apple iPod. The collective claims that the levy will exclude cellphones and PDAs by limiting its application to devices that primarily play music, however, distinguishing between devices is nearly impossible since dozens of products (Apple iPhone, BlackBerry Pearl, Palm Treo) are music players, cellphones, digital cameras and email devices rolled into one.
The CPCC is also seeking to extend the levy to storage media such as secure digital (SD) cards, despite the fact that its own data shows that 75 per cent of content copied on to these cards is not music and 80 per cent of people say that the content they last copied on to these cards was not music. These results will not come as a surprise to digital camera owners, yet that has not stopped the collective from demanding up to $10 per card.
That route goes the same place as the 55mph speed limits did in the US - massive disrespect for the law, and otherwise law-abiding people making an effort to get around the rules. That's the kind of system the RIAA really, really wants.
Last week's podcast suffered from low audio levels, especially for Michael's segments. I hadn't tried to boost that originally, because of some noise on the line. However, I got more than one complaint about the audio being too soft, so I've reposted the episode. You can grab it directly here, in case places like iTunes don't re-index it.
Wired reports that Australia is planning to phase out incandescent bulbs:
The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country.
I understand the motivations; other issues aside, they are longer lasting and more energy efficient. However, it's pretty hard to find fluorescent bulbs that produce "warm" light. I have one here in my office lamp, and the best I can say for it is that I find it tolerable - I've had it in for a couple of weeks, and I'm still not happy with the light it provides. I'm still experimenting, trying to find a fluorescent bulb that doesn't suck. I'd be pretty unhappy if they were my only choice.
That "thud" you heard is the sales volume for Windows Vista. Seems that pushing an incremental update to XP (but one that ups the memory and graphics requirements a lot), while simultaneously adding brain dead DRM technology wasn't the best move ever.
Scoble said something that I couldn't agree with more:
Shipping is a feature. I keep getting reminded of that. Scientific American has a long article on the MyLifeBits research that Microsoft (er, Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell) is doing. You can see these two guys in a video series I did while back at Microsoft.
That's very, very much the case. Cool code that stays in the lab is equivalent to code that was never written. Later on, he mentions something else:
This is why I’m scared by what Ray Ozzie is doing. Clearly Ray has bought into the Steve Jobs’ school of “keep it secret, don’t talk, and ship something cool.”
The difference is, Apple ships new stuff all the time, while Microsoft seems to be mired in endless delays. This is a lesson I'm taking forward in my role here at Cincom as Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager.
Evan Williams touts Odeo as tops amongst Podcast indices:
"Odeo is the only vertical podcasting site that has emerged from the pack: it received 5X more traffic than its nearest competitor, PodcastAlley.com for the week ending 2/17/07, and achieved an overall rank of 14,982 in the Hitwise rankings."
It's anecdotes like this that fascinate me:
The biggest impact of the Civil War was on the Middle East rather than the Middle East on the Civil War. The biggest impact was cotton. When the North blockaded Southern cotton the textile mills of Europe went dry. So they turned to the only other place in the world that had cotton of a similar quality and that was in Egypt. The price of Egyptian cotton went up about 800 times. Egypt made a lot of money. And with that money they built wonderful buildings and palaces, they built the opera house where Verdi used to perform, and they also built the Suez Canal which completely changed the face of the Middle East.
In 1869 the cotton market in the South came back and the Egyptian cotton market went bankrupt. Egypt went bankrupt and that led to the British occupation of Egypt that lasted for 70 years. There was actually a direct line between the Civil War and the Suez crisis of 1956 during which the Egyptians tried to nationalize the Suez Canal. Britain and France invaded. And so, really, the reverberations from the American Civil War in certain ways continue to course across the Middle East.
I've read a lot about the Civil War, and a fair amount about European history - and there's a connection that I had never seen before. History continues to echo back at us, with current events being influenced by things long forgotten - and many times, things that are seemingly unrelated.
Tim Bray has a long exposition up on the idea of using the web as a means of financial disclosure (as compared to the traditional press release route). This is something Sun's CEO brought up last year, and there were objections at the time - although I disagree with most of the objections. Tim does a great job of dissecting those objections, so I won't bother doing so myself - just read what he has to say - makes a lot of sense.
Technorati Tags: finances
Sometimes, "experts" are a lot less intelligent than you think. Take this story in ComputerWorld, for instance - it's yet another "the tubes are failing" thing from the so called experts:
Nick McKeown, a computer scientist at Stanford University, heads up one such program. He says the Internet is “broken” in at least two places -- security and mobility.
“But if the user is moving around, you end up with a whole lot of hooks and kludges to keep track of the user,” he says. “There have been various proposals for a mobile IP, and they are all awful. They barely hold together now, but all the routing mechanisms will just break when there are many more mobile devices.”
That's just utter gibberish. The servers generally aren't mobile - they pretty much stay where they are, at "well known" IP addresses. Clients move around a lot - on Tuesday, for instance, this notebook was on a wired network at my hotel in Dayton, then on WiFi at the airport, then on Wired (and WiFi) here at my house. And believe it or not, the tubes didn't clog, the sky didn't fall, and life as I know it didn't end. I have a clue for McKeown: the rest of the network doesn't care where my mobile devices are, or whether they happen to be online or offline. I care, and some apps on my devices might care. The rest of the world? Not so much.
The stupidity gets much, much worse though: Here's McKeown's "solution":
McKeown and his colleagues have developed a prototype network called Ethane, which centralizes security rather than putting it all around the network in firewalls, virus scanners and the like. With Ethane, all communications are turned off by default. A host joining the network must get explicit permission from a centralized server before it can connect to anything except that server. And the server won’t grant permission unless it is able to determine the location and identity of the requestor.
You know, I like single points of failure as well as the next guy, but McKeown can have it, thanks. I'll stay with the less secure - but vastly more robust - system we have now. To get on the net at an arbitrary airport or coffee shop now, all I need is WiFi and a DHCP server that can route me. Under his system? Well, let's just say that I expect various interoperability issues with that security setup. Fortunately, the net is too big to be re-bootstrapped, so McKeown's ideas will stay where they belong - in the lab.
Howard Kurtz of the WaPo asks the right questions about Satellite Radio in the wake of the XM/Sirius merger: why does Satellite Radio exist in the first place?
The reason these two companies have 13 million subscribers willing to cough up $12.95 a month for something we all grew up thinking should be free is that commercial radio has self-destructed.
All these folks (including me) are paying for satellite because they're tired of cookie-cutter radio formats stuffed to the gills with commercials. They're also fed up with focus-grouped music stations that play the same 60 songs until you start hearing the chords in your sleep.
There's no good reason that the FM dial had to go to heck. When I travel now, I carry my iPod, and listen to that in the car - and the iPod is the only real competition for XM/Sirius. I grew up listening to radio, and - back when it didn't stink - the ads didn't bother me that much.
Sooner or later, reality will shine in on the puzzlewits at the RIAA. In the meantime, there are signs of progress:
The company behind the Puretracks.com music store said it is immediately offering songs from artists such as The Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene and Sarah McLachlan under a partnership deal with major independent labels.
The labels include Nettwerk Music Group of Vancouver, Arts & Crafts Productions of Toronto, the San Francisco, Calif.-based Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) and Beggars Banquet Records of London, England.
Those are small indie labels, but some of the artists are prominent. I expect kicking, scratching, and biting from the RIAA all the way to the end.
Technorati Tags: music
So I'm seeing a new trend in Wiki spam - this kind of stuff has been hitting the VW Wiki at UIUC lately:
<center> <u style="display: none"> "Bozo spam hrefs go here" </u> </center>
Even worse is the crap like this:
"bunch of keywords here" <p> <meta http-equiv=refresh content="0;url="url to redirect to here"<p>
You see the keywords for a second, and then get immediately redirected. Truly, truly ugly stuff. I have filters for this kind of stuff for our Wiki, but all I can do about the UIUC one is run repair scripts that use HTTP to revert.
I'd want to listen to this, but it's 44 minutes of video:
While everyone is over in London at the Future of Web Apps Conference ( great writeup of day 2 is here ), I thought it would be fun to put up my interview of Sebastian Moser . Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of him either before he wrote me in response to a request to talk with more developers.
That length would fit perfectly into my exercise time (and probably the commute time for a lot of people, too). Please Scoble - give as an audio only feed!
DOME is a domain modeling system built in Cincom Smalltalk, but it's been falling further and further away from newer versions - until now. There's work in progress to get a full update published - you find find the development Wiki here, and grab the work itself in the public repository.
Doc Searls quotes Michael Rosenblum at a conference in Boston:
"Ice was a fantastic business, for two thousand years... they were probably having conferences like this, talking about ice ponds and straw and shipping routes..." Then in 1873 a guy named Perkins invented refrigeration. "And your ice business was dead."
When the public has their own transmitters, what's the need for a "public resource" like PBS? For that matter, all of radio is in danger, with the growth of satellite radio and podcasting. The supposedly scarce bandwidth just isn't so scarce any more. For radio to stay around, the people in that business need to figure out what niche they serve that the competition doesn't, or can't.
Technorati Tags: radio
I had been told that a CLRified version of “WPF/E” would be shipping in the 1.0 release but I think the plan for the team is to make a lot of small updates in quick succession so that they can grow the product as customer needs expand. It’s a good strategy, but even “less than a year” is a long time to wait for managed code.
It's kind of amazing that Microsoft's UI team for their future UI isn't eating their own dogfood. There may even be good reasons for it - believe me, I know a fair amount about the difficulties of working with disparate teams who have independent development histories - Cincom's other products pre-date the entry of Smalltalk to Cincom, for instance. For Microsoft, however? These guys are all supposedly on the same team.
|Alan Knight has posted a link to the session list for Smalltalk Solutions 2007 at it360 - registration isn't online yet, but the site does say that it should be ready on February 26th (you can register for an update on that now). Alan's session info is a DabbleDB application, which is kind of cool all by itself :)|
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
File this under "what, you mean there are risks in this strategy?"
The cartel of record companies in Capitol v. Foster have filed a motion for reconsideration of US District Court Judge Lee R. West's decision to award the defendant Debbie Foster attorneys' fees. In it, the plaintiffs lay out their disagreement with the judge's reasoning while taking time to point out that the fees awarded far exceed any damages they could have recovered should their suit have been successful.
What a complete bunch of tools. I swear, some prosecutor should start applying the RICO laws to the RIAA.
Update: Oh geez - the RIAA is willing to just lob grenades everywhere they go. I hadn't considered this, from Wired:
Predictably, the RIAA has filed a "motion for reconsideration" of Judge West's decision to force the RIAA to pay for Foster's legal fees. In the motion, the plaintiffs emphasize a key point: They want the judge to rule that the owner of an ISP account is responsible for all activity on that account, which could have a chilling effect on public wireless access and open hotspots. (The appeal also made the point that Foster should be held liable if she was aware of the infringement occurring via her account; in the case of someone with an open Wi-Fi network, that could constitute something as simple as experiencing traffic slowdowns.)
If they got their way on that, any entity that offered a net connection - Starbucks, a hotel, a municipality (etc) - would have a huge potential liability on their hands. They might well decide to just discontinue in order to not expose themselves. Yeah, there's a world I want to live in.
Technorati Tags: music
Did you know that all your channel-branded TV stations - WCBS/2 in New York, KPIX/5 in San Francisco and every other "Channel (fill in a number)" that has been around since the 1940s - are going to be marched off those channels and onto new ones in 2009? And that your TV will no longer get anything at any of the over-the-air channels those stations occupy today? WCBS will be on channel 56. KPIX will be on channel 29. Every station, somewhere else.
For reasons outlined well by Scoble, I'll believe this when I see it - and I'll be astonished if I see it at all.
Jeff Jarvis has some good words of advice for newspapers: Go Local:
Try this on as a new rule for newspapers: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.
That’s not how newspapers work now. They try to cover everything because they used to have to be all things to all people in their markets. So they had their own reporters replicate the work of other reporters elsewhere so they could say that they did it under their own bylines as a matter of pride and propriety. It’s the way things were done. They also took wire-service copy and reedited it so they could give their audiences the world. But in the age of the link, this is clearly inefficient and unnecessary. You can link to the stories that someone else did and to the rest of the world. And if you do that, it allows you to reallocate your dwindling resources to what matters, which in most cases should be local coverage.
I can get news coverage for (insert national or international story here) from the wire services, or locals in those areas - I don't need the local paper to regurgitate it. Local school board news? Who else is going to give me that?
Cory Doctorow : "I think that it's reasonable to assume that Apple won't always make the world's best music player. I'd like to keep my options open. But the longer you own an iPod, the more likely it is you'll buy more iTunes music, and the fewer options you'll have."
That's correct; not everyone is willing to go through the "DRM Shuffle" that I do, nor should they have to:
- Buy music on Machine 1
- Rip a CD from iTunes
- Import the CD into Machine 2's library
- Manually key-in the track info
If I bought enough music, I'd automate the last step - but I don't buy music direct from iTunes that much - mostly, I buy CD's to avoid the whole problem. However, lots of people just buy their stuff straight from iTunes, which builds up their lock to the iPod over time.
I'm not sure about the point Winer adds though:
And don't miss that lockin doesn't just come from format lockin, it's also a closed box, only the manufacturer can add featues. Jobs said the reason the iPhone isn't an open platform because it's a phone, but that doesn't explain the iPod's closedness.
I get his point, but the iPod is a consumer gadget - and as such, most people probably don't want all of the issues that come with open-ended configurability. Think about your PC, and the kind of behavior it tends to exhibit over time - and compare that to an arbitrary stereo component. Now ask yourself which one is closer to how most people think about their iPods...
Technorati Tags: iPod
Giovanni Corriga needs your help - if you're a Smalltalker interested in Google's "Summer of Code":
Google has recently announced the third edition of its Summer of Code program.
In this program Google provides funding to students to work on open source projects.
I think Squeak could benefit, both technically and in advertisements, from partecipating in such a program.
Unfortunately, the deadlines are pretty tight:
- March 12th for Squeak to apply as a mentoring organization
- March 24th for students to apply as developers for the program.
I'm trying to have Squeak apply to the program. So if anyone would like to partecipate to this effort, either as a mentor, or as student developer, or just to provide ideas and suggestions, please contact me ASAP at my personal email.
Follow the link above for contact info.
I see that the Hearst corporation is releasing their own "newspaper reader" software:
In a continuing effort to expand the reach of its content, Hearst Corporation today announced an alliance with Microsoft Corp. that will allow Hearst media properties to utilize Windows Presentation Foundation technology to create "News Reader" software. Hearst's initial deployment of the News Reader software, which launches in beta at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today, is a downloadable application providing computer users with a new way to view newspaper content onscreen.
The Times has one of these, too. Here's the thing - with this approach, if I want to read N papers, I need N pieces of software. Yeah - I can see trying to make that pitch. They could achieve the same thing via RSS/Atom and their own re-branded reader software.
Chris Petrilli explains why Windows has so many problems - the complexity involved is just unfathomable:
I believe that Windows XP is actually unknowable in its complexity. I don’t believe anyone at Microsoft knows how it works, or really cares, and I certainly don’t believe that it’s fathomable by any human being. This is in stark contrast to UNIX and its derivatives, or even Windows NT 3.51 or 4.
Technorati Tags: microsoft
This is annoying. I headed over to Yahoo movies to check on listings - we are considering taking in a movie this afternoon. So this is what greets me:
Ok, what's up with that? last night, the movie titles were links to a Yahoo page with more info, and the running time was available. Now all I have is a "buy tickets" link (and only for theaters that offer that). What's up with giving me less information?
Technorati Tags: yahoo
Even for old analog-only TVs, there are plenty of workarounds, including plain old cable TV. A very small minority of viewers today get their TV from antennas. And if that's how Scoble's dad gets his analog TV, all he'll have to do is get a converter that turns his digital TV to analog. There will be plenty of those around by February 2009.
That's all true - it's not that hard to get that stuff done, and it's pretty cheap. The problem is, I don't think that matters a lot. This looks to me a lot like a classic "perception vs. reality" issue. Go talk to a few 50+ non-technical folks, and see how they consume TV. Never mind the fact that most of them get cable, and thus won't be affected by this changeover at all. All that has to happen is for a few people to decide to scare-monger on this - i.e. - "they are trying to take your TV away!" - and this simple problem will start to look absurdly complicated. It shouldn't be that way, and it doesn't need to be that way - but I won't be at all surprised if it goes that way.
Technorati Tags: regulation
Add Don Dodge to the list of people who have swooned over the concept of a specific reader for a newspaper to the point where they just don't get it - he says this in response to Scoble, who had the same questions I did:
Newspapers and magazines have very powerful brands. Part of that brand is the look and feel or presentation of the information. The layout, the font, the headlines, and the advertising are all part of the reading experience. The newspapers and magazines want to replicate the news reading experience on line. Sorry Robert, but you can't do that with an RSS reader.
These News Readers will download the whole newspaper or magazine to your laptop or PDA within a couple minutes. Then you can read it at your leisure on the plane, bus, taxi, or where ever you are. No need for an Internet connection, and no need to scroll through hundreds of individual RSS feeds.
That's true. The trouble is, it doesn't matter, either. With an RSS reader or a web browser, I can read any news content I want, anywhere. With this reader, I can read the content for exactly one newspaper, period. What if I think to myself "well, that's what the Times thinks; I wonder what the WaPo has on it?" In Don Dodge's world, I download a second reader (and another for every paper I ever want to read). In mine, I use a single piece of software.
If the people behind this want a snowball's chance in heck of getting anywhere, then they'll need to define a common format that works across newspapers, and support it. They'll also have to figure out how to support that software, and convince people to use it instead of the tools they already have. Gee, there are even two formats out there that do this already; go figure.
Pretty doesn't matter here, as Matthew Ingram noted.
Technorati Tags: news
I saw this in a TV Review feed I follow - never mind what TV show it's about, I wish I had penned the line :)
An old adage cautions that every successful filmmaker has a highly personal dud in them, just yearning for the industry clout to set it free.
BottomFeeder downloads were down to a more normal run rate of 153/day last week - the details:
On to the HTML pages accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
That looks like the normal traffic flow there. Finally, the syndication stats:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||4.7%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.5%|
That's a pretty big jump for IE; version 7 must be rolled out further, or it might be Outlook (which apparently doesn't change the agent string). I see Planet Smalltalk is still over-polling as well. Bad bot
I find the sort of argument laid out here (by Rogers Cadenhead) mostly wrong-headed. Sure, there's a deficit of women in IT in general (and thus, in the ranks of speakers at conferences). The answer isn't to go out and purposely pick up a few tokens and pop them on stage to make people like Rogers feel better, though.
Here's the thing - pursuing intellectual diversity at a conference would be far more useful than worrying about gender/creed/race. Who cares whether you get a mix of those classifications, if they all come from the same Silicon Valley startup culture? Wow - I can listen to 10 different accents and pitches, and hear the same thing anyway. You want some diversity? Start looking beyond the same old set of people, companies, and parts of the country/world.
Travis has been working on some cool platform linkups recently:
A new version of Cairo has been posted. Under some guise, I have had this working under each of the three major display platforms. I've been able to do Cairo things under live Windows windows, and now I've got X11 windows (and pixmaps even) working. And Aqua pretty much works. With the annoying notion that you have to cover the window to get it to update properly. :) That should be easy to fix I hope. For Windows I need to chase down why the surface goes stale often after a pop up menu has obscured it. And under X11, some VW floating point ops if followed soon by certain cairo calls don't behave as expected. Something about some floating point flag. These are all surmountable hurdles though. And any other person that was properly motivated would be more than welcome to load and help fix these issues. It's time for me to start putting together my Cairo presentation for Smalltalk Solutions. I'll be doing it in... Cairo of course.
We recorded this week's podcast yesterday afternoon - we had a conversation about threading - green, native, and the uses of both in the face of the multi-CPU, multi-core systems that are being built. It's about 38 minutes, including James Savidge's jobs report. We had a good time with this one; hope you enjoy it.
As always, send feedback or questions to email@example.com
Maybe someone should let the TV industry know about the existence of the internet, and what it means for the quaint notion of staggered rollout around the world:
Australian TV viewers are waiting longer than ever to view their favourite overseas produced televisions shows, driving them to use BitTorrent and other internet-based peer-to-peer programs to download programmes from overseas, prior to their local broadcast.
According to a survey based on a sample of 119 current or recent free-to-air TV series', Australian viewers are waiting an average of almost 17 months for the first run series' first seen overseas. Over the past two years, average Australian broadcast delays for free-to-air television viewers have more than doubled from 7.9 to 16.7 months.
Yeah, there's a way to keep your viewers happy and reduce the amount of illegal downloading - make things worse. In a stupid contest between the RIAA, the MPAA, and the TV execs, it entirely unclear who would come out where.
Jason Calacanis is running the risk of trying to do too much, too fast in his new exercise regime - jumping into what amounts to interval training almost immediately is likely to give him a bum knee or shin splints. Here's the thing, and I say this as someone who's been running/jogging since for over 30 years now: find a routine you can do consistently, and stick with it. Don't get obsessed over your daily weight, or over utter irrelevancies like the number of calories burned in a single workout. Get into a groove that you can stay with for the long haul - because your progress over the course of a month, or even a year, just doesn't mean that much.
Technorati Tags: exercise
I got to Barnes and Noble briefly last night, and was able to use one of the gift cards I received last Christmas - I picked up "Final Impact" by John Birmingham". It's the third in his alternate history yarn about a future (2021) task force that gets sent back in time to 1942 - which creates havoc with the timeline, as all the despots of the era learn where their policies are taking them. It's a fun read, and certainly lighter than what I have been reading :)
If you like Turtledove and Clancy, you'll like this series - it's like a cross between the two, and in very much the same style.
Update: Well, I just finished the book. I have to say, the ending felt "phoned in". I liked this series, but the final book seemed rushed. Makes me wonder whether he's planning - like Turtledove, with his civil war to WWI series - to just keep going with the timeline.
Dare Obasanjo weighs in on the "diversity" thing vis-a-vis conferences, and hits the same "group-think" thing I was on about over the weekend:
When I think of diversity, I expect diversity of perspectives. People's perspectives are often shaped by their background and experiences. When you have a conference about an industry which is filled with people of diverse backgrounds building software for people of diverse backgrounds, it is a disservice to have the conversation and perspectives be homogenous. The software industry isn't just young white males in their mid-20s to mid-30s nor is that the primary demographic of Web users.
Personally, I've gotten tired of attending conferences where we heard more about technologies and sites that the homogenous demographic of young to middle aged, white, male computer geeks find interesting (e.g. del.icio.us and tagging) and less about what Web users actually use regularly or find interesting (hint: it isn't del.icio.us and it sure [expletive deleted] isn't tagging).
Interestingly enough, the web seems to promote group-think. It's easier to find a lot of other people with an overlapping set of interests, and then fall into the mental trap of thinking that "everyone" thinks that way. Doesn't matter whether the topic is politics, software development, role playing games (et. al.). In day to day life, in the place you live, there are probably a lot fewer people interested in (insert some passionate hobby here) than you. On the net, there are lots of them, and it's easy to over-inflate your relative importance.
James Lileks has the DC Metro area take on snow down:
Everyone ran to the grocery store for the usual requisites, because we might be snowed in for weeks, if not months. I saw this behavior in Washington DC, when the threat of a half-inch of snow would empty the shelves of bread and Charmin. And milk. I presume you mash them all up into a stiff, nutritious paste that will keep you alive until the rescue teams find your body.
Suffice to say, you don't want to be at the local grocery store the day before a winter storm.
The way this works is that stories on digg can be buried (voted down), but unlike positive votes, negative votes don't have names attached to them. This was done in the early days, from what I was told from insiders, so that the staff of digg could kill stories they didn't like and blame it on the will of the community. This kept the digg staff's fingerprints off of things that were killed so the staff of digg could say "we didn't kill it, the community did." Very smart... but now it's coming back to haunt digg. I'd love to see the buried votes on some early anti-digg stories... you can be sure digg will never release that data.
What this does is ensure that Digg will become more and more like an overcrowded Usenet board - the trolls will end up owning it.
You have to love the US patent office - a small Texas patent shark picked up patent number 7,065,417 recently, and has filed suit against Apple, Samsung, and Sandisk over their "infringing" players. If judges and juries had brains, this suit would not only backfire, but would cost the bozo company in Texas money. Here's why:
- Date of patent filing: January 29, 2002
- Date of patent award: June 20, 2006
- Date first MP3 player released: late 1998
Heck, the first iPod beat this patent to market. Now, I'm not a high powered patent lawyer, but I can do basic arithmetic: 1998 came before 2002, at least in the copy of the Universe I live in. How did this patent get awarded? Are the people who work in the US PTO hermits who dwell in caves near Everest? The news media reporting on this isn't much better; a few quick Google searches turned up the relevant dates. Exactly how hard are these reporters working?
You might remember the Lance Dutson saga, involving a blogger and the State of Maine's tourism board (along with their rather clueless PR agency). Well, it seems that the ousted head of that department is trying to say "not me! I had nothing to do with that!" now. I just got this in email, from a woman by the name of Linda Hutchins:
It's kind of old now, but I happened on you site, and the misinformation that Dann Lewis sued Lance Dutson.
(Please read the beginning of the truth here:)
As a matter of fact, Dann and his wife, and a few contractors went to a Boston PR firm, who told them ABSOLUTELY NOT to sue Dutson. (They already knew that)
So they went back to thier [sic] hotel and called WKP. There were 4 of them sitting their on a conference call, every one yelling at Peter Warrn [sic] NOT to sue Dutson.
And I realize that it defies any knid [sic] of intelligent logic, but they DID sue him. They claim that the suit was filed ACCIDENTALLY by a law clerk , while his boss was on vacation. ( I dunno....)
I omitted the enclosed email from a WKP flack - it seemed to be strewn with hyperbole I could do without. In any event, I pass this on as a way of presenting what the people Dutson wrote about have to say for themselves; draw your own conclusions. I left the spelling and name mistakes (it's Peter Warren, not Peter Warm) from the original email as is. Note also that WKP hails from NYC, not Boston.
Technorati Tags: law
Evan Williams continues to flog the broken Odeo:
But I was just poking around on it and still really like the way it works and looks (thanks to Biz for the killer visual design). So, there's that. (BTW, more interesting Odeo news coming soon!)
Here's a snapshot of the Odeo page for my podcast - the latest podcast they have is 13, and the latest one done is Episode 24:
Perhaps the "interesting news" relates to Odeo actually updating content when it claims it checked?
I have no idea why, but the power in my neighborhood has always been a bit flaky. Our lines are underground, so it shouldn't really be that way. This morning the weather is calm, mild, and sunny - so of course, the power was out.
The only thing I can think of is that there's always more power in use than the original plans assumed. That's not a huge surprise - most electronics have a sleep mode that continues to draw power, and I leave most of the computers running 24x7. While we have more computers DVRs than many people, we probably aren't that far above the average in this area - and the three refrigerators aren't at all odd.
So losing power this morning wasn't enough; Microsoft had to add insult to injury. I put my notebook into standby mode until the power came back, and then brought it back once power came back. That should have been fine, right?
Well, scrollbars (other than in VW based apps - yay, emulation) just stopped working. I'd scroll up; they gave me the finger. My mail client kept crashing over this problem - heck, the task manager wouldn't scroll up (gosh forbid I'd have needed to kill an application at the top of the list).
One reboot later, along with all the waiting (my G4 based mini boots within 30 seconds - go figure), and things were back to normal.
Now, where did my productivity run off to...
The Toronto Smalltalk Users Group is meeting on March 1st:
The next meeting and workshop of the Toronto Smalltalk User Group will be Thursday, March 1.
We'll take a look at how Smalltalk-Central is implemented
And we'll talk about Magritte
See y'all Thursday (see web site for details)
[|] Toronto Smalltalk User Group
Boy, I feel silly. I just watched Jon Udell's screencast on audio editing, and learned something about editing stereo tracks in Audacity that I didn't realize you could do. I had it in my head that selecting a section of audio selected all tracks - not just one of them. Dohhh...
Doc Searls makes a good point about corporate "soul":
Companies have souls. I said that in a speech I gave to a retailing conference in Lucerne on September 20, 2000, not long after Cluetrain came out. They have human purposes that transcend mere economics. These purposes have little to do with short-term opportunities, and nothing to do with cashing out or starting another business. For example, Nordstrom has the soul of a shoe store. Wal-Mart has the soul of a five-and-dime. (Something Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart, told me after attending that very speech - and agreeing with it.)
He then explains how far Starbucks has wandered from theirs. Go to Doc's site for the particulars; he explains it better than I'll recap. The question I have is this: Do you know what kind of soul your company has, and is it staying close it?
Technorati Tags: PR
Who would have thought: Distributed application services (SOA, in the new lingo) are hard:
Some industry insiders are noticing that few developers have a firm grasp on the skills they require to migrate to service-oriented architectures and manage the complexity of accessing and manipulating data.
Wow, there's a piece of information that was news... back around, say, 1992 or so. I must be getting cynical - I'm seeing too many things go in complete circles in this industry.