I got an email with a BottomFeeder suggestion the other day, and it seemed like a good (and simple) one to implement. I subscribe to a lot of feeds, but some of those feeds are more relevant to me than others. There are plenty of times that I'd like to see all the new items for the feeds that are most relevant to me - where most relevant means "ones I select most often". Well, I've implemented a simple tracker, and it's in the published (in Store) code. I haven't pushed it as an update yet, because I'd like to test it some more - I just made modifications a few minutes ago, in fact. It should show up shortly.
This is the second episode we recorded in Cincinnati at our internal "Camp Seaside" during the last week of September, 2007. In this talk, I got Alan Knight and Michel Bany together with Michael Lucas-Smith to talk about our upcoming support for Seaside in Cincom Smalltalk. Michel covered the history - how he came to the VW port of Seaside, and how far he's taken it. Michael discussed the automation of that process, and Alan covered what we're doing with Glorp for Seaside.
It was a good discussion, and we covered a lot of ground. If you have feedback, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can visit iTunes and leave a review, Podcast Alley and cast a vote, or find us in the Industry Misinterpretations group on Facebook. Make sure to watch for next week's episode - we spoke to Gemstone about their GLASS initiative.
After my recent trip to Cincinnati, I forgot to look over the log files. Last week's BottomFeeder downloads were proceeding nicely, at a clip of 243/day:
HTML tool distribution looks normal for this site, Mozilla heavy:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Finally, the Syndication numbers look normal as well:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Google Feed Fetcher||6.6%|
|Net News Wire||6.5%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
In a political post on "Captains Quarters", I ran across a quote that applies equally well to product management decision making:
All elections are cost-benefit choices, at all levels.
The same holds true for product management decisions. In an ideal state of affairs, there's sufficient time and staff to fix all known problems with a product, and to build all the features that every customer and prospect you know would like to see. However, it's clear that we never have an ideal state of affairs. Time is finite - either a release ships within a reasonable timeframe, or its lateness makes people start to wonder (Vista, anyone?).
There's never really as much staff on hand as you might like - it's always the case that an extra person here or there could make a big difference. What that boils down to is the quote above, modified for product development:
All product development decisions are cost benefit choices
Since you never have the ideal, the best you can do is decide on what fits best with the time and staff you have: what will make the largest set of customers and/prospects the most happy. There's even something of an analogy to the way elections work: you can consider the primaries to be like your existing customer base: they want to see improvements in the existing system, while the general election is akin to prospects - you have to try and reach out beyond your base and appeal to new people.
It's not a perfect process in either case, and you always have people who are unhappy with the choices you make. The key thing to remember is that you can't escape that - any decision will upset some, and delight others. Sometimes you have no good choices, only least bad ones. Either way, you can't really escape by temporizing: failing to make a decision is itself a decision - in product terms, it usually means that you keep doing what you are doing right now.
Heck, that might even be the correct course - you often find out months or years later. Sometimes you never find out at all.
Technorati Tags: product marketing
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we load GLORP from the public store and take a look at a simple example with it. GLORP is an acronym for "Generic, Lightweight Object Relational Protocol". Which is kind of a mouthful - what it means is that GLORP is a framework for doing object to relational database mapping. Today, we take a (very) basic look at it.
Now that I've taken up cycling as an exercise, the last thing I need is morons like these to start making waves in my area. I just got involved in the local traffic advisory board, because I'm concerned that the "traffic calming" being done by the highway department is making it less safe to ride (never mind the fun it creates for emergency vehicles, school buses, and snow plows). The last thing I need is a bunch of self righteous idiots whose main contribution is to convince others that all cyclists are jerks.
I've published the "relevance view" that I posted on over the weekend, but only in the development update stream - if you don't see the update, you'll have to add "/dev" to the end of the update url in the settings file and restart the application. I'd be interested in any feedback on this.
I think I can say "Can't wait for Wednesday" over this:
No help for my lawn, either
I love the way Scott Karp oversimplifies and builds up a non-existant strawman over Facebook usage:
No, the issue is that so many “adults” fell for Facebook’s ploy to convince them that they should adopt a toy built for college kids as a platform for their professional networking objectives. The deep irony is that Facebook’s core student users -- for whom the application was and still is designed — are laughing at the grown-ups as they bumble around the playground, trying to hold meetings in the sandbox and forge new business relationships on the swings.
So are those student users going to drop off Facebook as soon as they get a job? Will they stop texting, too? Has it occurred to Scott Karp that most of us have more than one facet to our lives, and that - just perhaps - the one marked "business" doesn't have to be painted completely in shades of gray?
Mathew Ingram notes that some of the people in the music industry have a clue:
Fast-forward to today, and Rogers talks about how Amazon has finally created a music-download service that is actually as easy to use as a p2p network -- in fact, easier. Unfortunately, he says, it has taken eight years of wasted effort and millions of dollars in legal fees:
“8 years. How much opportunity have we lost in those 8 years? How much naivety and hubris did we have when we said, “if we build it they will come”? What did we spend? And what did we gain? We certainly didn’t gain mass user adoption or trust, two prerequisites to success on the Internet.”
I bet if you asked the RIAA, they would point to their recent p2p win and say that they've been vindicated. Which means that Rogers probably has a long wait before other people in music get it...
So much for that - maybe if Torre had started Mussina instead of Wang, things would have gone differently - but pitching is what cost the Yankees this series, which is fitting. I said earlier this year that they needed a better staf, and I wasn't wrong.
However, watch Steinbrenner get it wrong and blame A-Rod, and the rest of the bats that didn't wake up enough. Sure, A-Rod had a lousy post season - but if the pitching had been better, it wouldn't have mattered as much. Then again, if Torre had yanked Chamberlain as soon as it was obvious that he couldn't handle the bugs during game 2...
At the end of the day, the Indians wanted it more.
I think the RIAA p2p win is going to be looked back on as a pyrrhic victory in the end. The artists realize that the rhetoric and reality don't meet; the money all goes to the niddlemen. I expect to see more things like Radiohead's announcement - which is what Nine Inch Nails just did:
Hear that? It's the RIAA quaking in their diamond-coated boots as yet another A-list band gives labels the finger: Pretty hate machine Trent Reznor announced today that "as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label." Instead of futzing through the hapless middleman of an inept label, Trent's promising "a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate," so we can expect more experiments in direct distribution and promotion, probably culminating in an album release not unlike Radiohead's In Rainbows.
The RIAA has been so intent on shutting down digital distribution that they haven't noticed what's been made clear: their disdain for their customers and their artists.
It seems that the version of Oracle I have installed is so old that some of the meta data GLORP relies on isn't in it. So, I'm installing a new database now :/
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we load the Active Record demo code (which is not completely baked - this is why the load sequence I'm using here will look a bit odd). GlorpActiveRecord is based on the object/relational mapping pattern ActiveRecord, popularized in Ruby on Rails. Today, we just get the demo set up - tomorrow we'll start doing stuff with it.
Well, there will be one less outpost of old-think in the PR game - Strumpette is retiring - perhaps tired of being shown up as an anonymous troll of astonishingly small amounts of intelligence. She won't be missed.
Nick Carr spots some interesting news: the online storage game is now offering guarantees in addition to nearly limitless cloud-space:
Nirvanax, an online storage utility now in public beta, has been touting its 99.9% uptime guarantee as a way to set itself apart from Amazon's S3 storage service, which has lacked a so-called service-level agreement. Today, Amazon responds by rolling out its own 99.9% guarantee.
He also notes that a new service, Flexiscale, is offering a 99.95% uptime guarantee. Storage is dirt cheap, but these kinds of service level agreements are going to offer value over the closets of cheap disk. Why try to manage your own power, cooling (etc., etc.) when you can pay someone else to do it - and get high reliability as part of the deal?
Technorati Tags: storage
On Monday, December 10th, there's going to be a "Smalltalk Day" Buenos Aireas, at the University of Buenos Aires. Two tracks are being held - one for educators and students, and another for industry applications. They are looking for presentations - you can get details (in Spanish) here.
Scoble notes that we really are in the narrowcasting business:
Every time I get on TechMeme I get 500 to 3,000 visits. That matches what the Guardian and what Nick Carr are seeing.
But, truth is not many sites out there do any better. Yeah, when I get on Digg I get 20,000. When I got on the front page of the BBC a couple times in the past month I got 5,000 each time. But Valleywag? I get 100 to 1,000 visits (I’ve been on there something like 20 times including with some VERY sensational posts that would make anyone click and ask themselves “what the heck did that guy do?”)
I certainly don't see a noticeable pickup from being part of the Techmeme discussion links - and this site lands there a lot. Unless you're writing a celebrity or political blog - and even then, you have to get noticed first - you're getting mostly a set of "regulars" to your site. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's worth remembering the next time you look over your logs.
I might have been on to something with my thought that the recent RIAA p2p victory would be seen as pyrrhic. Techdirt notes that a small, but growing group of artists are starting to figure out that the "value add" of the music labels isn't such a great deal:
There are two key things to note in all of this. First, all these bands feel the need to ditch big record labels to do this (and, no, that doesn't mean that small bands without recording contracts can't succeed this way too). This is a sad state of affairs for the record labels -- because there still should be a place for them in helping to promote and market a band, even if they're giving away the music for free. It's just that they're not venture capitalists any more and bands don't need help in distributing content -- two businesses the record labels insist they're in.
I think this only fuels the desperation and stupidity on the part of the labels. You've got a whole ton of useless middle-men who are accustomed to a comfortable existence - and digital distribution has come in like a sledgehammer. They no longer control the horizontal, the vertical, or anything at all. Bands can promote their music in a variety of online forums, and not sell their souls for a few pennies of royalties.
Sure - most bands will have to rely on touring to make most of their money, but that's no different than it is now. The real difference is that the incremental revenue they do get from online sales of mp3 and CDs will go in their pockets instead of someone else's.
Technorati Tags: RIAA
I found this in a comment to an unrelated post, so I figured I'd highlight it and address the issues. He also complained about the installer; I sent that to the relevant engineer here at Cincom:
My real frustration comes from trying to install packages from the sTore. I wanted to install Pier, so I went to the pier website, read the installation instructions, and it says to load the pier package from the store. So I did that, yet the installation crashed because magritte was not loaded. So I tried to load magritte, yet the installation crashed because seaside was not loaded. So I tried to load Seaside, but the installation crashed because of some kind of 'dllcc' problem.
Perhaps I should continue looking into this issue, maybe I made a mistake somewhere. Yet, when installing packages, I'm used to it either telling me what I need, in plain english so that I can get the package, or giving me the choice of installing it automatically.
This has to do with pre-requisite settings (or, in this case, the lack of them). I tried loading Pier myself a few weeks back; like the commenter, I gave up in frustration. Now in the case of Pier, I know that the VW port is a work in progress, but - at the same time - having load problems makes it very difficult for others to pitch in. This is a problem with plenty of things in the public repository (I've released code myself that is hard to load). The bottom line is: we (Smalltalkers) need to remember that there are new people coming in all the time, and having something break completely on load is very offputting.
Answers.com is now using a widget for travel that takes you to a Seaside application - do a search like this one, and the reservations application after the widget is Seaside. (Via Squeak News). (Corrected based on the comment that came in).
Incidentally, I did a podcast with Liz Cohen of Answers.com awhile back.
Tony Long spreads the pyrhic victory meme on the Jammie Thomas thing. His main points:
- Regardless of wrongdoing, Jamie Thomas is potentially sympathetic. Not well off, a single mom... did the RIAA decide that an "own goal" was what they wanted, in PR terms?
- The labels continue to screw the artists, and the artists are starting to realize that they don't have to take it anymore
Once the dust settles, maybe some of the useless middlemen working for the labels can find real jobs somewhere.
Mathew Ingram has a fascinating look at the way old publications are trying to come to grips with the web - and it's not always management that provides the stumbling block. Employees and unions suffer from the same kind of old think - after Time Magazine's management set out a policy requiring their writers to target the website, things got silly:
It may have been rather poor timing for a call to arms, however, considering the writers’ union was in the process of negotiating a new contract with the publisher of Time, People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money magazines. I expect the idea of tying job evaluations to web writing was like red meat.
The upshot: in return for other concessions, according to Women’s Wear Daily (which seems to have been the best source of coverage for this particular story, oddly enough), the management at Time agreed to a clause that says while employees will be “encouraged” to write for the Web, “there will no negative impact on any employee for not volunteering to do Web site work.”
I love that "no negative impact" thing. With circulation plummeting, how can there be anything other than negative impact? The denial of reality there is thick enough to cut with a knife.
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we take a look at the Regular Expression support in Cincom Smalltalk. This isn't a detailed excursion into Regex; rather, it's a look at where to load the support from, and how to find the documentation for it.
Two days ago I received an auto-generated warning from S3 about my account status:
"AWS was unable to charge your account based on the payment information you provided. Please update your payment method information using the Your Web Services Account section of the AWS web site."
Worried, he contacts his credit card company, and discovers that the payment issue was simple: Amazon tried to charge a penny, and that was too small an amount to process. So - Amazon just waived the fee. This was for a month's worth of backups, too. That's kind of amazing. It's a whole new world of utility storage out there.
Technorati Tags: storage
Two days ago, it was hot like August. Today, fall decided to show up again:
At least I won't be coming back in from exercising looking like I went swimming in my jogging gear :)
Important Announcement: The Public Store Repository will be offline for approximately 30 minutes (starting as I post this) - we are migrating the database to a newer, faster server. If there's a delay for any reason, I'll update this post.
Update: It's back online, and the performance improvement is noticeable.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I noticed that Target got itself into a class action suit on web accessibility last week. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but the story popped at me again while I was reading the dead tree edition of ComputerWorld. I'll note that IANAL, but there are some obvious things Target is doing wrong, just from a basic accessibility viewpoint.
Go ahead and visit the site - then put the mouse over any of the images. Notice what's not there? No alt text. Now, I'm hardly perfect about that on my blog; I often let the default "jarober uploaded a file" text stay, for instance. Over on the main Smalltalk site though, I've tried to make sure that there's alt and title text for all the images - if I've missed something, I'd love to hear about it.
The funny thing is, this rather salient fact went unmentioned in many of the stories I saw on this - news.com being a notable exception. There may be other accessibility things necessary, but Target isn't even doing the basic stuff.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that Strumpette was going offline. I've never thought much of the supposedly satirical, relentlessly un-funny site - probably the best description would be "bullying" - what else to call someone who posts anonymously, and feels free to toss obnoxious invective around?
Taking note of this, I posted a short " so long, no one will miss that " thing up, and promptly forgot about it. Until last night, when I started getting email from "Amanda Chapel". The mails started off nasty, and quickly moved to incoherent and sophomoric. With the swear words "bleeped out", here's the entertaining sequence from this *cough* PR professional *cough*:
From: Amanda Chapel To: email@example.com Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:32 PM Subject: A Note from Amanda Chapel Jim, F*** you a******. Sincerely, - Amanda From: James Robertson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:15 PM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel Ah yes, not even able to express yourself without profanity. The mark of a true amateur in the PR game. From: Amanda Chapel To: 'James Robertson' Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:33 PM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel And who the f*** are you?! Like I said in my resignation: I seem to spend all my time revisiting the same battles previously won. I spend all my time trying to keep the Web's rising tide of small literal minds at bay. I was referring to you Jimbo. From: James Robertson [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:52 PM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel And you can't refer to me, or anyone else, without cursing. Which shows that you have poor communication skills. I can insult you from now to next year, and I won't have to swear once. You? You can barely manage a full sentence without cutting loose. From: Amanda Chapel To: 'James Robertson' Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:13 AM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel Raising one's voice to an idiot is a natural thing. And yes, I do agree, you will likely continue to be an insignificant f*** from "now to next year," at the very least. From: James Robertson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:37 AM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel Wow, it took you a whole day to compose another sentence that includes an expletive. So how does a middle aged guy masquerading as a young woman manage to confuse himself with a PR professional? Are there powerful narcotics involved, or is the delusion something you managed to bring on without extra help? From: Amanda Chapel To: 'James Robertson' Cc: [ed: removed Cincom Marketing and Legal People's Email Addresses] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:44 AM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel You are exposing your company. From: James Robertson [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:52 AM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel Here's the thing: I use this thing called transparency. I post under my own name, so that people can honestly evaluate what I say. As opposed to, say, you. From: Amanda Chapel To: [ed: removed a fellow Cincomer's email] Cc: 'James Robertson' ; [ed: Removed a fellow Cincomer's Email] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 9:38 AM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel [ed: Cincomer name removed], Can you stifle this Cincom knucklehead please? See. See below. Thank you. Regards, - Amanda Chapel From: James Robertson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:49 AM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel Ooh, you've gone and called a lawyer now. You could do what real people do - post under your real name, and explain why I'm wrong. That might require some courage though. From: Amanda Chapel To: 'James Robertson' Cc: Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 9:53 AM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel YOU ARE NOW HARRASSING ME USING CINCOM PROPERTY. From: James Robertson [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 9:07 AM To: Amanda Chapel Subject: Re: A Note from Amanda Chapel Hmm. I seem to recall that I'm the one who's being called names. From: Amanda Chapel To: 'James Robertson' Cc: [ed: removed fellow Cincomer Email Addresses] Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:34 AM Subject: RE: A Note from Amanda Chapel IT'S NOT ABOUT NAME CALLING YOU F****** LOSER. IT'S ABOUT YOUR MISUSE OF CINOM PROPERTY. STOP IT IMMEDIATELY!
This is what happens when you take a completely self-absorbed "PR" person who has come to believe that their audience is other PR people. Edgy is all that matters; never mind those actual prospects who might want to spend real money buying a product. When you take it too far - as this person has - you get an astonishingly thin skinned, can dish it out but can't take it bully. Go read through the archives at the Strumpette site - the author is all too willing to toss invective. Call BS though, and his/her spleen bursts.
Update: Apparently, Strumpette is not amused. Now he/she has taken to sending emails to Cincom's executives. I guess "can dish it out, but can't take it" really, really applies here.
Update 2: This truly is a molehill. I'm getting more referrals for this search than I am for Strumpette :)
Update 3: I guess I had no idea just how unhinged Brian Connolly (the man behind the anonymous troll) really is - check out this post from Robert French - the F-Bombs sent to fellow Cincomers and Cincom management are hardly all that this guy is capable of; more than one person has been harassed by phone as well. On a humorous note, I now see why Connoly went bats when I asked about the masquerade - check out the picture over at French's site :). Hat tip to Mike Krempasky for the link.
Update 4: Looks like the kind of nastygrams sent to my management are par for the course - check out this from 2006, at Media Orchard:
This is not a new tactic. Strumpette enjoys attacking people, but prefers opponents who are unable to defend themselves. Strumpette and/or Brian have approached the employers of several bloggers who have criticized the Strumpette blog, trying to shut them up. In general, Strumpette's intimidation tactics have worked like a charm.
Update 5: Look gang, the formerly anonymous troll has decided to graduate up to plain troll - he's put up a blog under his own name, but sadly, he still can't communicate without vulgar language. Maybe someday he'll leave 7th grade behind...
Update 6: This Connolly guy is something else. He posted what I suppose he thinks is clever (go ahead and visit futhermore.com if you wish - no Google juice from me :) ). Suffice to say, it was yet another 7th grade level, vulgarity laced post. So I sent this via his comment form:
Congratulations, Brian - you've graduated from being an anonymous troll to merely being a troll. Someday perhaps, you'll learn to express yourself without using vulgar language. Until then, enjoy being mostly ignored.
So, he sends the all too common response to a colleague in marketing, and cc's corporate management:
From: Brian Connolly <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 11:48:07 -0500 To: [ed: Cincom Address Removed] Cc: [ed: Cincom Address removed] Subject: Furthermore Steve, Again, will you PLEASE stifle your employee!!!! Thank you. Brian Connolly
Showing again, Brian sure can dish it out, but he goes crazy if you dare to criticize him. It goes on, as I responded to an email he sent one of my colleagues:
From: James Robertson [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:41 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: Kayser, Steve Subject: Linkbaiting It's a fine attempt at linkbaiting, Brian, but it's not going to work. Try looking at: link:http://furthermore.com Which shows nothing for your site. Now have a look at Rubel's numbers (who you tried linkbaiting in your post about me): link:http://micropersuasion.com Or even the results for my smaller niche blog: link:http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/blog/blogView So no, I won't give you the satisfaction of a link. I very much doubt that Rubel will spend more than a second on you either.
Again, predictably, he went nuts:
From: Brian Connolly
To: [ed: removed Cincom employees' email addresses] Cc: 'James Robertson' Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 1:54 PM Subject: LAST NOTICE: STOP IMMEDIATELY Steve, FOR THE LAST TIME? CAN YOU STIFLE YOUR EMPLOYEE!!!!! Brian Connolly
I'd add commentary, but it speaks for itself...
Looks like everyone is building interesting stuff for use on the web. Via Danny Ayers, I found out that the New York Times has built (and released openly) a database front end they call DBSlayer. It talks via JSON, does connection pooling - it looks fairly interesting. All you need to talk to it is HTTP and JSON libraries. I've made fun of JSON before, but perhaps I let my cynicism get out in front of me.
Update: Looks like there's a Squeak package for JSON - if it works, a port to Cincom Smalltalk should be fairly easy.
After the earlier post on JSON, I decided to take a look at the Squeak package. Importing it into Cincom Smalltalk was fairly simple - here are the steps I used:
- Downloaded the mcz file
- Unzipped it to get the files
- Loaded BraceConstructor and FileOut30 into my image. The former is for Squeak array compatibility; the latter handles bringing in Squeak files
- During the file in, I had to deal with namespace issues (TestCase), and a missing class (SystemOrganization)
- Fix up all the uses of _ instead of :=
- Create a new namespace and move all the JSON classes into it
- Test out a few examples, found here.
I published it as JSONReader in the public store (there's a JSON package out there already - it seems to be focused on serializing to JSON). I should probably consider unifying the two. Anyway, I can't vouch for this code much - but it's a start.
While reading through the new stuff in BottomFeeder this morning, I came across this item from Mike Arrington - where he explains how easily some people toss lawsuits (or threat of same) around, and how much time that can waste. It's commonly thought that things are worse this way than ever, and I used to think so - but I've been reading "Empire Express", which covers the building of the transcontinental railroad by the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. Lawsuits and threats of suits were tossed around like water back then (just after the civil war).
It's also commonly said that Congress is worse and more corrupt than ever - I'd invite anyone who thinks so to read this book - the kinds of deals and sinecures being handed out back then are just amazing - if things like earmarks bother you now, you might well have exploded in the late 1860's :) It's a fascinating book - there's the actual building of the road, the legal battles, the corruption, and the personalities. I'll be sad when I reach the last page.
Charles Monteiro has announced the next STUG meeting in New York City, November 7 at 6:30 PM. Follow the link for directions to the meeting:
Charles A. Monteiro will be discussing issues encountered as well as techniques/strategies in our quest to have an Oracle centric direct sql VW application speak to a Postgres backend without having to change application layer code.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
PC World reports that Comcast will finally be rolling out cable boxes with the Tivo interface - and has started to do so already, in fact:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp, the largest cable operator in the United States, and TiVo Inc said on Thursday they have started rolling out TiVo- enabled Comcast digital video recorders in New England. The companies said in a joint statement that the service will be rolled out to customers over the next few months.
Not a minute too soon - the existing DVR boxes have an interface that no one could love.
A couple of posts I made here about a certain non-transparent "PR" person have generated a huge stream of very obnoxious emails - and not all of it to me. I want to say thanks publicly to Steve Kayser, who has been a big help in this little blog-storm. Thanks Steve!
Who knew that delivering soda could require hazard pay?
State police in Indiana, Pa., are investigating after a Pepsi employee allegedly assaulted a Coca-Cola employee while making a delivery at a Wal-Mart in White Township on Oct. 1.
According to police, Robert Koscho, 48, of Ebensburg, and the Pepsi employee, who has not been identified, were bickering back and forth while making their deliveries at the Oakland Avenue store. Police said the two are also accused of trying to run each other over with pallets full of soda bottles.
Maybe the next confrontation will include Mentos based mortars.
The system consists of a headpiece equipped with electrodes that monitor activity in three areas of the motor cortex (the region of the brain involved in controlling the movement of the arms and legs). An EEG machine reads and graphs the data and relays it to the BCI, where a brain wave analysis algorithm interprets the user’s imagined movements. A keyboard emulator then converts this data into a signal and relays it to Second Life, causing the on-screen avatar to move. In this way, the user can exercise real-time control over the avatar in the 3D virtual world without moving a muscle.
Technorati Tags: second life
Just when you think the music labels have hit bottom, you find another piece of news demonstrating that there might not be a bottom: The UK equivalent of the RIAA (PRS) is suing a car repair chain, claiming that mechanic's radios were set loud enough to qualify as a public performance:
The PRS claimed that Kwik-Fit mechanics routinely use personal radios while working at service centres across the UK and that music, protected by copyright, could be heard by colleagues and customers.
It is maintained that amounts to the "playing" or "performance" of the music in public and renders the firm guilty of infringing copyright.
Hmm. By that logic, every party I've ever been to needed a performance license. Lots of the cars on the road need one to - never mind FM broadcasting from the mp3 player, I'm just talking about volume. Is this really where the labels want to go? Do they have any idea how stupid this makes them look?
Andreas explains how ObjectStudio 8 makes calling C from ObjectStudio easier - DLLCC (from the VW side) is a lot easier to work with. We aren't satisfied with DLLCC though - we are doing a number of tings to improve the experience:
- Faster calls from Smalltalk to C, and from C back into Smalltalk - you'll see that in the January Release
- A better front end DLLCC parser - right now, the parser has trouble with many header files. We expect to have preview level improvements by January, with more to follow
- VM as a DLL - if you read Dave Buck's piece, you see that we are making it possible to use Smalltalk as a shared library on Windows, Unix, and Linux. We should have at least preview level capability by January, and we may be able to ship that in production.
Things are shaping up nicely for January - I'll have some details on the tools/UI work soon. In the meantime, the roadmap has been updated.
Today or tomorrow (I'm waiting on some audio to mix in), I'll have the third in our Seaside series of podcasts out. This one was also recorded in Cincinnati, during the last week of September at our internal "Camp Seaside". We spoke to Gemstone about their GLASS (Seaside) work - look for it in iTunes by the end of the weekend.
If the post I made on the recent madness on the part of a supposed PR person interests you, just follow the original post. Any and all updates will be landing there.
And here is where it breaks down. All these unusable drag and drop tools, and “easy” XML programming languages aren’t targeted at programmers. They are targeted to suits who can buy into the idea that some non-techy is going to orchestrate these services and modify business rules. These products are unworkable because they are based on the idea that “You won’t need programmers anymore!” at least at a core level. Once you make that assumption you start building things that get in programmers way, and still include enough abstract programming concepts that no non-programmer is ever going to be able to work with it proficiently
The funny thing is, this idea of eliminating the programmer was one of the original goals of Smalltalk. It hasn't worked out that way; neither mainstream languages (like Java), nor the niche ones (Smalltalk, Lisp) have been picked up as general purpose tools for the masses.
There are DSL tools out there that provide higher productivity for general audiences; you can consider spreadsheets with their macro languages to be DSLs, for instance. Even there, everyone sees the scaling problems - we've all seen overly complex, unmaintainable spreadsheets.
The bottom line is, we haven't reached nirvana yet. Unless you have a highly focused (and smallish) problem, you probably need software developers.
Last week, some spam hit the Cincom Smalltalk Wiki - it's easy enough to restore the original pages, but I was afraid that I was looking down the same barrel that the UIUC wiki is - one of relentless, un-ending spam attacks.
However, a simple investtigation revealed a stupid problem I inflicted on myself - in the last patch I pushed up, I accidentally turned off the spam checker on the Wiki. After turning it back on, I started seeing failed attempts reported in my logs, from the same IP addresses that hit UIUC. I have to periodically update the filters, but things are back to normal. If you came to the site and saw spam last week, my apologies.
This is the third Seaside podcast we did during the last week of September, 2007 in Cincinnati. For this one, I was in the same room with Michael and Arden, with Dave Buck and the Gemstone guys (Dale Henrichs, James Foster, and Monty Williams) on the phone. We talked about what Gemstone is up to with Seaside (you should also check their blog). They did most of the talking - we pretty much let them have the mic and explain things to us.
Well, this has been an interesting morning. Michael and I decided to try a game of Civ IV, and immediately on connection, we got "Out of Synch" errors. We are both using Windows, so it's not the dreaded Windows to Mac issue. No, it's the recent 313 patch. A quick round with Google turned up this thread, so we turned off random events. That did the trick. So now, I guess we wait for the next patch. Given how quick this one popped up in MP play, I'm surprised it wasn't caught in testing.
Scoble points out one of the scaling issues with accessibility laws: ironically, they favor the big players:
Now, imagine a world where every video is forced to get a transcript so that it’s accessible to blind people? Yeah, some sites like mine would just pay to have transcripts done. But most video bloggers can’t afford that. So who would pay for this?
Take the podcasts we do here on Industry Misinterpretations - say I had to provide a transcript for those. I looked into that once, and - while the price wasn't onerous for a corporate site, I can definitely see questions coming up at budget time. For larger companies, providing a transcript would be a pain, but a small one. For smaller outfits, it could easily be a back breaker.
I have sympathy for the blind (or deaf, etc) who want access to the same things the rest of us have access to - but at the same time, Scoble's "who pays for that?" question is not coming from a place of harshness. It's a real problem for smaller players with limited budgets.
There's also a gap between the reasonable accessibility steps (alt text, etc) that help screen readers, and the reality of increasingly less accessible video technologies. Let me use a simple example: Smalltalk Daily. Those are narrated screencasts, where I do demonstrations of how Cincom Smalltalk works. If you can't see it, there is audio - but how useful is it? There's definitely a "lost in translation" thing there, IMHO. The same would apply to a lot of video, even if a transcript were provided. Not everything online can be reduced to an interview.