By now, everyone has heard about the inspection related cancellation of thousands of American Airlines flights; the bad news is, there's more to come across the industry:
A second wave of audits began on March 30 and will continue through June 30. Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said it could not rule out further groundings. "We don't know," she said. "We find what we find."
Who knows which airlines will end up in the crosshairs? I'm still planning to fly American to Smalltalk Solutions - odds are, the problem will have gone by them by June. Knock Wood....
If it's spring, it must be time for our annual planning meeting in Cincinnati. Next week (airlines willing), we'll be getting the Smalltalk team (myself, Arden, Suzanne, and all of engineering) together to look at the next release cycle. Arden has been asking for customer feedback for awhile now, but I'm sure he'd be happy to get more.
Charles Miller isn't happy with the rash of Twitter-spam out there. I'll note that this isn't new; Immediately after I joined Twitter (awhile ago) - I recall that one of the first "follow me" requests came from "Girls Gone Wild". I kind of figured that they weren't interested in "Smalltalk Daily" :)
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Who knew Yahoo would go this far to avoid Microsoft - it looks like an AOL/Yahoo merger is in the works. I'm not at all sure that it's a good idea; both companies are foundering, and it's rare that two bricking companies do more than sink faster.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is talking to News Corp. to create a joint MS/News Corp/Yahoo monstrosity? Sheesh, Microsoft can't focus now; can you imagine them after that took place?
If Google has any sense at all, they'll sit back, order some popcorn, and watch their competition commit suicide.
Mathew Ingram points out that a lot of PR pros haven't caught up with reality - the "dead tree" release is as dead as many newspapers are:
This is not rocket surgery. Put links to relevant information in there; add multimedia content if you have it, with either embedded images or links to them. Better still, create a blog post that has all of these things in it and is tagged properly, and people will find it. Whether you follow the structure here or not is up to you (some people believe starting with the facts and not the spin or “hook” is the wrong way to go, but that’s debatable). Just put some damn links in there, and quit hoping that a boatload of overused adjectives will somehow sell the thing for you.
With old releases, the goal was to get phone calls. With new ones, the goal is to drive people to the right part of your website. If you aren't linking to it, how exactly is that supposed to happen?
Technorati Tags: marketing
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we pick up the end of the Seaside tutorial again, and go through the various ways you can save your work.
Now this is amusing:
A devilish Boston fan working on a concrete crew at the $1.3 billion stadium covertly buried a Red Sox T-shirt under what will become the visiting team's locker room to jinx the Yanks, two construction workers told The Post yesterday.
The only solution is to tear that part apart and remove that jersey!
Jeff Jarvis notes the absurdity of this:
On NPR this morning, I heard an old lady in a wheelchair forced to come to the airport to change her canceled American tickets -- she wasn’t allowed to do it online or on the phone, not even after she said she was disabled and her daughter had seven children and a newborn and couldn’t take her to the O’Hare’s hell.
Unless you sell a commodity whose value is solely determined on price grounds (like, say, gas at a self serve station), customer service is everything. The reason a lot of companies don't get this is simple: Excellent service seems to have little upside. No one comments on it, and praise is infrequent. However, bad service gets passed around via word of mouth. Restaurants figured this out a long time ago; unless you can count on a steady traffic of non-locals, you simply cannot afford bad word of mouth n the food business.
The thing that's changed is how viral word of mouth has gotten. A decade ago, stories like the one Jeff relates would have appeared (maybe) in a local newspaper. Unless a national news organization latched onto it though, it would have been very unlikely to see it spread beyond the people the woman in question knew.
Now? All it takes is someone who thinks the topic should be talked about, and there are so many bloggers around that the liklihood of that happening starts to approach 100 percent. That doesn't mean that it will be known by "everyone", but you can bet that frequent travelers - who follow this kind of news - will find out early, and react to it. It's a whole new ballgame, and it's one that companies and public figures are having a lot of trouble with. Take this item about Bill Clinton, for instance - and never mind the politics, it's the communications issue I'm interested in:
Watching Bill on the trail makes folks wonder whether he could have held up to scrutiny in 1992 had YouTube and instant fact-checking existed back then. No one has seemed less prepared for the intense scrutiny of this campaign than Bill. He seems to forget that even when he's in rural Indiana, he's on the national stage. In '96, the Clinton campaign thought their local market strategy was innovative (it was), since it allowed him to talk to key media markets outside of the interference of the national press. Now, the national press is everywhere since local can become national in an instant.
This is a key thing in modern PR that is just as true for companies: it's virtually impossible to segment a message to different audiences now. Want another example? How about this Absolut Vodka campaign, intended to be targeted solely at a Mexican audience? Again, the people who put that together assumed that the audience was limited; they learned all too quickly that the audience was global, regardless of the theories they held.
You simply can't segment the audience with any expectation that it will stay segmented. "Edgy" campaigns are now every bit as dicey as the idea that you can campaign one way in this area, and another way in a different one. You have to assume that a video camera, phone, and internet connection exist in every single context, and act accordingly.
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Here's the video I shot of Peter Deutsch's talk at SPA 2008, on March 18. It's a bit over an hour, with half of that being a Q&A segment. I'll have this out as audio only (podcast) over the weekend. In the meantime, you can grab the video in one of two formats:
I wanted to post larger resolution, but that file was nearly 1 GB in size. Enjoy!
Windows is to the new crop of smaller, lower power devices. I'm not the only one who thinks Windows is on the way down - see Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Watch:
By contrast, Vista dramatically increases operating system complexity and hardware requirements. But, with the increasing business and consumer shift to mobile devices, the market demands less complexity and lower-powered hardware. Microsoft's inability to offer Windows Vista for low-powered laptops is example of the problem's size. Vista demands too much. Something else: Deployment complexity plagues Windows and many supporting applications, particularly in the enterprise.
If Vista hadn't landed with such a resounding thud, they might have had a shot at turning things around. However, they are now in panic mode, trying to get Windows 7 out in order to sweep the latter day Windows ME under the carpet. Meanwhile, the next generation of small devices will evolve without Windows.
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Scoble brought the whole Shyftr thing to my attention with this post; apparently, it's a service that rehosts syndication traffic and allows commenting directly on their site. There's a lot of chat about that; some people think it's awful, others (like Scoble) seem to be taking a "what can you do?" attitude. That's mostly where I am, but with one caveat: my ability to follow.
For this blog, I don't really have much of a problem, but if you're more popular (like Scoble), the conversation is going to extend far further than you'll possibly be able to deal with. That's what I'd worry about more than anything else; the sheer inability to follow the conversation as it continues to fracture.
This week's podcast is another keynote from SPA 2008: Peter Deutsch's talk on his experience (50 years worth) in software development. This was recorded on March 18, 2008 at the conference - I posted the video of the same talk here.
I finally sat down and watched the last episode of season 2 of Jericho; it had more holes in it than the first season, which was hard to do. On the other hand, if you're the kind of conspiracy nut who still thinks FDR planned Pearl Harbor (not to mention the more modern versions of the same thinking), then maybe you'll enjoy it - it definitely falls into the "6 impossible things before breakfast" theory of plot development.
Though not the first omni-directional treadmill we've ever seen, this version crafted for the EU-funded CyberWalk Project is entirely more interesting. The 6- x 6-meter device features an active walking area of 4.5- x 4.5-meters, and later this month, individuals anxious to prance through a virtual city will be able to strap on a head-mounted display, lace up their LA Lights and indulge in escapism.
So how soon will I need to pick between the blue pill, and the red pill :)
We are about to get a change in the weather here (two good days - it's about to get colder again). Right at sunset, I took two photographs of the wild sky/cloud color:
I was kind of hoping to get away with no coat on this trip to Cincinnati; sadly, here's tonight's forecast:
A pair of hardhats working at the new Yankee Stadium dropped a dime on the location of a buried Red Sox jersey.
After the hardhats pointed to the spot, workers brought out jackhammers and dug furiously for five hours, creating a 2-foot- by-3-foot, gravel-filled pit in their search for the tainted threads. They spotted the jersey at 3:25 p.m. and called Yankee brass. The cursed shirt was about two feet deep in cement.
Well, we can all breath a huge sigh of relief now :)
If I didn't have spam filtering turned on for our Wiki, I definitely would not be able to keep it running - here's a bit of the logging, which illustrates the problem:
<< April 13, 2008 10:49:48.216 >> << Spam from: (IP Omitted) >> << Spam Intended For: Cincom Smalltalk >> << April 13, 2008 10:49:48.781 >> << Spam from: (IP Omitted) >> << Spam Intended For: Wiki Syntax >> << April 13, 2008 10:49:59.142 >> << Spam from: (IP Omitted) >> << Spam Intended For: Add an action button to a canvas >> << April 13, 2008 10:51:29.850 >> << Spam from: (IP Omitted) >> << Spam Intended For: Wiki Syntax >> << April 13, 2008 10:54:22.129 >> << Spam from: (IP Omitted) >> << Spam Intended For: VW NameSpace Reservations >>
It's like that 24x7.
I'm later with this post than I should have been, but at least I remembered before my trip. I'll be in Cincinnati at our annual "all hands" meeting - meaning, I'll be with the entire Smalltalk engineering group. That also means I have an opportunity to get podcasts on just about any topic of interest to the Smalltalk community (assuming I can convince the relevant engineer(s) to sit down and talk :) )
So - any suggestions? Leave a comment or email me.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Jarvis puts his finger on the root of the problem the airlines have - and it's the same one the record labels have, and Microsoft - sheer inertia. They like running things "the way they've always been", and when change enters the business picture, they go straight to denial, rather than to any attempt to fix things. Digital music a threat? Try to sue it out of business. Web based applications a problem? Try to build more walls around Windows. This quote from Umair Haque sums up the problem nicely:
The dynamics of old boy's clubs are almost deterministically predictable: they fight tooth and nail against risk, against the radical, against any kind of change to the status quo. They're great at "monetization" - cutting deals - but the last thing old boy's clubs are good at, unfortunately, is sticking up, come hell or high water, for innovation. From music, to publishing, to food, to autos, the outcome of locked-down boardrooms has been innovation stifled and suffocated
When the business environment changes, you need to be able to adapt. Those who aren't, die.
This is huge - Google and SalesForce are teaming up - which means that the Google app stack (including the new app framework - will be a good default choice for SalesForce users (and vice-versa). This is a huge game changer, because it means that Office is not the default choice for an increasing number of business users.
Microsoft is getting disintermediated, and there's not a heck of a lot they can do about it. They're stuck in the kind of management inertia problem I spoke about yesterday.
We've just started our annual get together for the Cincom Smalltalk team - I took a few pictures of our opening - here's Suzanne Fortman getting things started:
And Alan, the new engineering manager
And below, three photos of the crowd in the meeting room. Here's to a good week!
Speaking of game changing - Google announced their web services a week ago - now Amazon has announced something truly cool - persistent storage for EC2. Not S3, mind you - attached storage for the EC2 instance that is persistent:
In the same way that your running EC2 instances, your Elastic IP addresses, your S3 buckets and your SQS queues can be thought of as items contained within the scope of your AWS account, our forthcoming persistent storage feature will give you the ability to create reliable, persistent storage volumes for use with EC2. Once created, these volumes will be part of your account and will have a lifetime independent of any particular EC2 instance.
These volumes can be thought of as raw, unformatted disk drives which can be formatted and then used as desired (or even used as raw storage if you'd like). Volumes can range in size from 1 GB on up to 1 TB; you can create and attach several of them to each EC2 instance. They are designed for low latency, high throughput access from Amazon EC2. Needless to say, you can use these volumes to host a relational database.
This is absolutely huge - it means that you can now run an entire application stack on Amazon's service without having to rely on S3/SimpleDB for the back end storage. Need to scale your website up? That just got a whole lot simpler.
I'm not sure whether I'll be able to get new Smalltalk Daily episodes posted this week; I'm in planning meetings, and I may not have time. In the meantime, have a look at the large number of existing ones!
I got a little ahead of myself with the posting of Cincom Smalltalk Spring 2008 for download. The commercial release isn't quite out yet, so I've reverted the download page to OST 7.1.3 and VW 7.5. We should have the commercial release out shortly; the product is ready to go. The only issue has been getting ObjectStudio 8.1 Vista Certified, which has been taking more time than we hoped it would.
If that keeps stringing out, we'll be splitting the release - sending out commercial VW 7.6 and OST 7.1.3 now, and OST 8.1 when the certification comes through. Either way, the commercial release should happen within a couple of weeks at worst, and the NC site will revert back to the latest code.
Sorry for the inconvenience!
I'm sure that the few $K in support contracts that come out of this kind of MySQL conversation will justify the $1B they spent:
After a profoundly awkward silence, one of the individuals from their internal development team piped up, "Actually, everybody uses it. Why bother hassling with license agreements when MySQL's got you covered. We're stoked you bought them."
At that rate, I'm sure Sun will monetize that investment in just a century or two. Good luck with that :)
This is interesting - Psystar is selling hardware that is capable of running OS X (Or Windows, or Linux), and for a cost that's well under what Apple charges. I wonder whether Apple will try to find a way to go after them...
Update: Spelling Correction
Update: looks like it's all fake
Technorati Tags: apple
It looks like Cincom Smalltalk will be be shipping very soon now: VW 7.6, ObjectStudio 7.1.3, and ObjectStudio 8.1. We had been holding the release pending Vista Certification for ObjectStudio 8.1; that's done now - I just got this in email via Mark Grinnell, who is the lead for ObjectStudio:
Congratulations. Your product ObjectStudio 8.1 has been tested by <omitted>, a service of <omitted>, and meets the criteria for the Certified for Windows Vista program. Please take a moment to review Next Steps information on our web site so that you can begin enjoying program benefits as soon as possible.
This is great news, and it means you should see the CD with VW 7.6 and OS 7.1.3 - and the DVD with OS 8.1 - arriving soon. Congratulations to the ObjectStudio team for this work!
A couple more photos from our meetings - yesterday, Mark Roberts talked about GLORP, and what he's been doing to get a handle on documentation for it:
And then this morning, Arden talked about product direction for the next little while:
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Vista's thud has been a career ending move for all the MS managers associated with it:
Poole's departure pretty much marks the end of an era. Nearly every Microsoft executive associated with the Windows Vista launch has left the company. Vista has proven to be a career-ending enterprise, in stark contrast to bygone days when big promotions followed the release of a new Windows version.
That sound you hear is the door hitting all those execs in the backside on their way out...
Yesterday, I got a photo of the support group - these are the people you talk to when you call with issues:
The woman standing is Kim THomas, who manages that group. Going around to the right are: Deanna Simpson, Sean Glazier, Janos, Kazsoki, Dennis Gagne, Prasad Payyavula, Janardhana Manne, Chowdari Chiratla, and Ralf Propach (Heeg).
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Randal Schwartz is becoming a one man PR shop for Smalltalk and Seaside:
I was interviewed by noted futurist Stephen Euin Cobb for his podcast, The Future And You. If you skip ahead to about the fifty minute mark, you'll hear me rave about Seaside and describe my recent activities.
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I have a few more photos of the Smalltalk team - here's Arden talking about our plans for the Modeling Tool work being done in OS 8:
Here's Travis leading a discussion on our Font system:
Suzanne and Georg Heeg having a discussion:
John Sarkela involved in a talk about some VM issues:
It's been a productive week so far - great news for all our customers and interested developers!
You may not be able to consolidate all your content in one place, but it looks like Six Apart is trying to make it easier to broadcast your stuff all over the place with a new Facebook app:
Blog It allows you to compose and post updates within the Facebook interface and have them simultaneously appear on any one of the ten supported services, including Movable Type, TypePad, Pownce, Twitter, Blogger and WordPress.
The idea behind Blog It is to simplify the process of updating all the various sites and services you use, offering a single interface for updating all your sites. It's a bit like turning Facebook into a fire hose that sprays your thoughts across the web.
There's got to be a huge demand for this kind of thing; I end up going through a lot of hoops to post podcasts (or links to them) across my site, Facebook, Ning, and a few other places. More of this faster, please :)
In both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple's computers were the winners. Oddly, the big difference didn't come in our user ratings, where we expected the famously friendly Mac interface to shine. Our respondents liked the look and feel of both operating systems but had a slight preference toward OS X. In our speed trials, however, Leopard OS trounced Vista in all-important tasks such as boot-up, shutdown and program-launch times. We even tested Vista on the Macs using Apple's platform-switching Boot Camp software -- and found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than our PCs did.
Simply put, Vista proved to be a more sluggish operating system than Leopard. Our PCs installed some software faster, but in general they were slower in our time trials. Plus, both PCs showed weaker performance on third-party benchmarks than the Macs. Our biggest surprise, however, was that PCs were not the relative bargains we expected them to be. The Asus M51sr costs the same as a MacBook, while the Gateway One actually costs $300 more than an iMac. That means for the price of the Gateway you could buy an iMac, boost its hard drive to match the Gateway's, purchase a copy of Vista to boot -- and still save $100.
has certainly been my experience. With a Windows box, it gets slower over time, as they pre load of apps (which is how MS makes things like Office seem faster) generates more and more of a boot time penalty. A year in with my MacBook Proo, it's still snappy - a year in with my old ThinkPad (meaning, a year after I initially got it) - it had degraded significantly. Buy the Mac :)
We had a nice dinner at PF Changs on the 15th; here's a snapshot looking down the table:
Technorati Tags: cincom smalltalk
Thursday morning, and it's deep into planning breakouts - here's the VM team talking about their issues:
And the ObjectStudio 8 work that's being discussed:
And the large talk on build/deployment issues:
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Lukas Renggli will be presenting Seaside in Hamburg, Germany on May 28th:
I will be giving another Seaside presentation Monday, May 28, at the Arbeitskreis Objekttechnologie Norddeutschland in Hamburg, Germany. The talk will start with a short introduction to Seaside and present some of the key features that can't be found in any other web framework. Furthermore I will present the advantages of using Seaside in the context of several industrial projects. The talk will be in English, even if the summary is in German. Hope to see you there.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
It's early days in this evaluation at IBM, but I think it represents a huge win for Apple to even be considered by IBM as a viable option in the "default platform for employees" sweepstakes:
The pilot programme was launched in October 2007, to check out the options and feasibility of moving a few of IBM's 300,000 employees to the Mac platform. Unsurprisingly, Cupertino is rubbing its hands in glee, and is doing its utmost to step up its level of Mac support for IBM's business applications.
This is the kind of "bake off" that Apple simply wasn't considered for until very recently. Here at Cincom, the Smalltalk team has been moving heavily in the Mac direction for awhile now. We use Parallels and/or VMWare for Windows and Linux on those systems, and it's been working out great.
We got the word earlier this week that ObjectStudio 8.1 received Vista Certification; with that, the final obstacle to shipping our release vanished. Today, Cincom officially released the product suite for delivery, which means that customers will start seeing CDs and DVDs arrive next week. What's coming?
- ObjectStudio 8.1, Vista Certified
- ObjectStudio Classic 7.1.3
- VisualWorks 7.6
A side note - that also means that the product will be available for download off the website shortly. I will be turning VW 7.6, OST 7.1.3, and OST 8.1 NC back on sometime next week.