On today's Smalltalk Daily, we finally get down to extracting the calendar data from the gCal namespace in the Atom feed that comes back from the calendar request we've been working on this week. I've published package GData to the public store repository so you can see the code yourself; the workspace I've been using is in the package comment for GData.
Anyone who watches the UIUC VW Wiki knows what a spam magnet it's become - I do my part to restore pages regularly. I didn't want to have that sort of thing happen to our Wiki, so I put two levels of spam checks on it:
- "too many" hrefs
- A black list of keywords - new content matching any keyword fails
The problem was in the first check. I decided that "N" was too many hrefs, So I put in a check on that. However, it turns out that there are pages that already have more hrefs on them than "N", and my check was stupid - it didn't check for the difference between old and new, just the raw number.
That meant that no one could update pages like the Namespace reservation page. I fixed that this morning - sorry for the inconvenience.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
There's been a fair amount of traffic in the vwnc mailing list over the Widgetry decision for the last few days. This morning, I put together another message that I sent to the list - with a few changes for general posting, I'm going to post here, and expand on it a bit.
This is in response to a question that was asked about our reasoning: that reasoning being that evolving tools in the existing UI would be simpler and faster than building new ones from scratch in Widgetry. I thought that was clear, but I was asked why we didn't have our tools staff building in Widgetry. Well: here's the thing: we did.
A large part of this decision stems from the unhappy results of that. We took that path, and we were distinctly unhappy with how it was looking. Ultimately, in my role as Product Manager, I had to ask a simple question:
If our internal people are having this much trouble dealing with Widgetry, how are customers going to deal with it?
This does not imply that Wrapper is some shining city on a hill, or that Widgetry is a disaster. Here's the bottom line, though: In order to ask customers to migrate from Wrapper to Widgetry, Widgetry would have to be dramatically better than Wrapper. At the end of the day, we couldn't say that it was. It was an improvement in many areas, but it also has problems, and simply didn't "move the ball forward" enough to ask people to move to it.
It was also implied that I was creating "politically correct" responses based on some kind of secret feedback from a small group of customers. Nothing could be further from the truth - I rarely check with anyone before I post here, or in email. Heck, I created my blog, and offered to host other people, without getting formal permission to do so.
The decision to cancel Widgetry and move the current UI forward was made based on internal considerations, along with feedback from a number of customers over the course of the last few years.
I was watching the Yankees/Sox game out of the corner of my eye as I was getting beaten at a card game this evening - I mostly stopped paying attention once the Sox went up 7-2. Then suddenly, there was the 8th inning - and the Yanks came back with 6 runs. The crowd at Fenway looked stunned - especially since those runs came against the best of the Boston bullpen. Now, if the Yankees can take the next two...
Well, today's podcast should be interesting - Michael, David, and I will be discussing last week's announcement about the VW UI. We aren't starting until 11, so if you have specific questions for us, you can send them directly to me - and if you can put them into a short mp3, send them to my private address, (uncompressed) since the Cincom mail servers can be fussy about attachments.
Miguel de Icaza notes that Apple's latest firmware update limits the iPod to Windows and Mac:
The new firmware will now refuse to play any songs that you legally own unless you use Apple's iTunes (which is only supported for Windows and MacOS)
Now, off the top of my head, I can't tell why Apple cares what platform an iPod is used on - which makes me wonder if this is Apple throwing a bone to the RIAA...
Cincom customer Caesar systems has made their paper on "Extreme Testing" - which they spoke about at Smalltalk Solutions earlier this year - available:
Caesar Systems of Houston, Texas, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, is offering copies of a paper by Leandro Caniglia, Ph.D., senior software architect for Caesar Systems, entitled ''Extreme Validation.'' Free copies of the paper are available at www.caesarsystems.com/pdf/Extreme_Validation.pdf. For an expanded version, please see www.caesarsystems.com/media_070913.htm.
Nice to see a customer getting noticed - one of our engineers, Andres Valloud, gets a mention in the article as well.
It's been a momentous week in the Smalltalk world - as I announced here, we cancelled the Widgetry UI project. There's been (and continues to be) a lot of talk about this - so it was the obvious topic for this week's podcast. Dave, Michael, and I spoke for over an hour - I've split the podcast into 2 parts. I'l be releasing part 2 during the week - we'll be back with a new topic next week. Here's part 1, which mostly focuses on the decision itself. Part 2 is focused on where things are headed now, in light of this decision.
I needed a break after this week, so it was off to the links for 18. It was beautiful today, around 70 and sunny. Great day for golf - too bad my game was off :)
I see that the European monopoly case against Microsoft is still grinding on - which is funny, because Microsoft is busily inflicting wounds on themselves (Vista) - just as I predicted they would. Large corporate entities tend to get more rigid and less able to cope with changing markets over time; Microsoft is no exception. Let nature take its course.
I think that Apple's insistence on the one button mouse had passed into absurdity a long time ago, but I had also thought that everyone knew you could just plug in a different mouse - most applications support context menus, and scroll wheels work fine. I was wrong though - Mark Cuban is hardly the only one who just (grudgingly) accepted the one button mouse:
The 2nd problem is the lack of the right mouse click. I know its a Mac thing to only have one button, but its a hassle. Sure there are work arounds, none of which are quick and easy for a longtime PC user.
Interestingly enough, there's a cool option on the MacBook's touchpad (I have no idea whether any PC notebooks support this - they should): Put two fingers on the touchpad, and then click the button - you get a right click. Swipe with two fingers - scroll wheel behavior. Yes, you have to turn that behavior on, but it is there. This is one of those cases where think Apple's stubborn take on things holds it back.
|I just finished reading "The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan". It could be looked at as a cautionary tale: the end of the British Raj in India led to the same kinds of problems that the death of Tito eventually led to in the balkans (and, for that matter, what the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires led to in Eastern Europ during the 20's). If anything, the end of the British era led to an accelerated period of violence and ethnic cleansing on the sub-continent - it was mostly over by the early 50's (although the author makes the point that the scars linger to this day).|
I literally had no idea how badly this had gone; what little I learned about this in school blipped over it as a non-event. The book doesn't go into great detail, and you'll want a map handy as you read it (unless the geography of the area is familiar to you) - but it's a great introduction to that era in Inidan and Pakistani history.
Not only is the NY Times giving up on the paywall - they are opening their archives:
In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.
I think we can blame the ever expanding period of copyrights for the gap, but this is a good thing - I wonder if they've been reading Doc Searls on this stuff?
The Yankees took two of three from Boston (although that third game was certainly a nail biter) - and last night they narrowed the gap to 3 games in the loss column. There are only twelve left, so taking the eastern division is still a long shot - but boy, it would give Boston fans a whole new level of angst if that happened :)
John Dvorak nails the "ethics" debate that sometimes crops up between "old" media and "new" media: it's all about reputation:
The public is the police. Things get even more complex as bloggers and new-media publishers arrive with a mix of news, hoaxes, and singular opinion. There are no standard ethics for any of these people, and despite stupid attempts to create a blogger's code of ethics, there never will be one except on a publication-by-publication basis. The holier-than-thou old media thinking will fall by the wayside. In new media publications, ethics are demanded by the readers, not the editors. With open forums, comment threads, and other mechanisms, the modern structure is policed by the public. Old media cannot grasp this concept.
Whether I trust the NY Times or not doesn't have anything to do with their code of ethics - it has to do with how I evaluate their track record over time. Oddly enough, the exact same standard applies to a small publication or blogger: either I rate them as reliable over time or I don't. The whole smokescreen of "layers of editors" and "clouds of ethical standards" is just that: a smokescreen. Either the writers have an agenda or they don't, and - more importantly - either they are honest about that agenda or they aren't. No one reading this blog is going to mistake me for a Java evangelist, for instance :)
His summary drives it home:
It seems very difficult to get a good grip on the changes taking place. What's really changed is that the barrier to entry, regarding newspapers and even television, has fallen away, and anyone can afford to put up a news site or produce a cheap video that gets freely distributed. In other words, the priesthood of the few who could manage to crawl into the sanctity of traditional media is over.
Fifteen years ago, as a product evangelist, I had one option: go to the trade press and analysts, and hope that they didn't mangle my message too much on the way out. Now? I can go for a bigger audience by approaching a well known trade journalist, but I don't have to - and I can also offer corrections to any story that gets posted if I think they are warranted (just as anyone is free to post corrections of me when they see fit). It's a whole different ballgame, and reputation is what drives it.
In looking at the HTTP logs, I know that there are people who scan the download directories for the podcasts. The file name convention we had been using for the first year was:
Where the numbers correspond to month-day-year. I've decided to forgo that for the next year - instead, the new file name convention will be:
Where the numbers correspond to the episode number. There could be a -1 or -2 (etc.) for multi-part episodes. That ought to make tracking the shows by episode number easier :)
If you have some wild notion that the current copyright regime has anything to do with paying the actual artists, then you need to see this article from Wired. The bottom line - it's all about the members of the RIAA and the MPAA:
Emerging online distribution methods are fueling the dispute, as Hollywood writers demand residual compensation for TV and film content sold through iTunes and other services. Producers want to delay those royalty payments, calling the technologies too new to know how much actual profits they generate.
There's a chuckle - the technologies are "too new" to know whether they generate profits (which is why companies like NBC are playing hardball with Apple, right?). I'm sure Sony, NBC (et. al.) aren't setting aside the revenues from these sources into a rainy day fund. What a complete set of tools.
Here's part 2 of the podcast we did on Sunday - this segment was more focused on where we go from here. If you have feedback, send it to email@example.com. You can also check us out on Podcast Alley, iTunes, or over in our Facebook group.
Chris Petrilli calls BS on the need for a "powerful" presentation application:
Here’s the thing. PowerPoint sucks. It sucks on a nearly epic scale. The best thing about the first version of Keynote was that it didn’t have 75% of PowerPoint’s functionality. That was a good thing . Most things in PowerPoint are useless at best, and a brain-melting disaster of bullet-point hell. I don’t want lots of clip-art, animations, or dancing paper clips. I don’t want sparkly text.
Recently, I've gone away from using presentations completely - I just give a talk. That way, the audience is actually listening to what I say, rather than reading the slides.
Yes, we know about the problems the site is having - slow, sometimes inaccessible. We are working on the issue.
James Governor notes the important outcome of the EU court case against MS: if MS can't bundle media player, then a lot of other outfits are going to have issues with the EU as well:
Really- there is no clear set of principles to govern technology bundling, at the EU or the DoJ, which makes life hard for companies and regulators. I got the impression Microsoft would actually like to work with the EU to provide a set of useful usable principles in this area. And you know who will be in the firing line if these principles are in place… other major vendors such as Google, Apple and Qualcomm.
I suspect that a lot of people cheering this decision are going to live to regret it - and a lot sooner than they might expect.
Technorati Tags: management
The Yankees won again, even with Rivera making it exciting in the 9th - and Boston lost. The Yankees are now only one down in the loss column. Boston's sportswriters have taken note:
Maybe if the Yankees weren't involved, it would be different. Maybe, despite another mind-numbing Red Sox defeat, this one featuring a grand slam surrendered by Jonathan Papelbon in a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays last night, Sox fans might be more inclined to squirm through a history lesson, one that has nothing to do with the numbers 1, 9, 7, and 8.
There's still a week and half to go, but it's now anyone's crown in the AL East.
Well, it required a big assist from one of our engineers - Thanks Pete! - but the blogs are all relocated onto a newer, faster server. The instability of the last couple days should be done with now, fingers crossed :)
SCO is going down, and they seem to have no idea why:
In a statement published this week, SCO Group blames the success of Linux and "negative publicity", as causes for its decline -- the company may need to wind up its operations after its copyright case against Novell collapsed, prompting it to file for bankruptcy.
I wonder where that negative publicity could have come from? Perhaps letting the lawyers run PR for SCO didn't work out?
Technorati Tags: law
I woke up this morning to discover that the migration I did last night - moving the blogs to a new server - had a few lingering issues. A bunch of generated urls were wrong, the RSS feeds were borked.. in general, a mess :)
I've been plugging away at that this morning, and most of the issues are resolved. Comments are still broken, as is the "printer friendly" view. I'm looking at those now
Update: Turns out that comments were broken due to a way too specific set of Apache rewrite rules. It should be good now.
Update2: The feeds have been fixed - the links in them were all messed up this morning.
While we here at Cincom are very fond of Seaside, it's not the only web framework around for Cincom Smalltalk - in fact, it's not the only cross-platform web framework for Smalltalk. The folks behind AidaWeb have fans of their own - one of them, Damir, has started a blog to promote it- it's a cross-Smalltalk dialect web framework. Damir is a newcomer both to Smalltalk and AidaWeb - it's nice to see this kind of enthusiasm. It supports all the web 2.0 goodness you would expect in a modern web platform - and you can get it either from the public store repository, or in the contributed section of our product or NC CDs. You can also head on over to the main AidaWeb site to get the latest news.
Paolo Bonzini has announced the launch of a new website for GNU Smalltalk.
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we look at handling Zip files in Cincom Smalltalk
I wonder is that sound I heard earlier today was a vein bursting down at stupid-central (otherwise known as the RIAA) - Amazon has a pretty clear statement on DRM on their "how to rip a CD" page:
Many of our customers have already figured out that one cheap way to get DRM-free MP3 files is to buy them on CD and rip them themselves. Luckily, we offer everyday low prices on many terrific titles to help you stock your portable player. For those of you who haven't yet dabbled in ripping your CDs, we've created this handy ripping guide that takes you through it. It's quite easy, and if you own a portable music player, it's a legal, cost-effective way to fill it up.
On the other hand, Amazon doesn't seem to hate their customers. I can't really say that about the music labels...
Tim Bray on Ruby:
Why are we doing this? Because, in my view, Ruby isn’t finished. It’s a great substrate for Rails, it’s immensely useful for building all sorts of things, but it’s not fast enough . I agree with Avi Bryant’s argument that a language isn’t finished until it’s fast enough to extend itself. Frankly, none of the language enhancements proposed for Ruby 2.0 make my heart go pitter-patter. But give me a Ruby with performance as good as a really good Smalltalk VM, and the space of things for which you need statically-typed languages shrinks to a really uninteresting size.
Of course, you can always try out the really good Smalltalk VM now....