Nothing makes for a more enjoyable driveway clearing experience than an ice storm:
The last shot shows the layer of ice that was over everything. Clearing that is a real workout: chip a segment with the shovel, toss the shards, rinse, repeat. Not sure I need another workout today now :)
Technorati Tags: ice storm
I had that question come by this morning, and I wasn't sure what the answer was. I asked Randal, and he got me pointed in the direction of #updateRoot:. Just to show a stupidly simple example, fire up a Seaside image, and add this method to WACounter - then launch that from examples:
updateRoot: anHtmlRoot super updateRoot: anHtmlRoot. anHtmlRoot title: 'Counter Demo'
After you launch the app, you should see this in the browser:
You have to love this:
Transportation officials in Texas are scrambling to prevent hackers from changing messages on digital road signs after one sign in Austin was altered to read, "Zombies Ahead."
The Feb 17th date is looking likely again:
The Digital TV transition delay bill has failed to pass the United States House of Representatives. By a vote 258 to 168 in favor of changing the date, the bill has failed as two-thirds of the votes are required for it to pass
Meanwhile, Doc Searls and Phillip Greenspun are cynical about the whole thing. At this point, it's pretty much got to happen though - the Feds auctioned off the spectrum already, and the new owners would probably like to use what they paid for...
The plumber was not available today, because of the ice storm. The guy busting out the walls and putting up framing came though, and made some good progress:
Now the plumber has to redo piping, since we're switching the room orientation. Then it's electric, drywall, and paint...
If you follow PR types on Twitter, you start to see an interesting pattern emerge - there's a whole lot of talk about "web 2.0", and how to get noticed in social media. There's also a lot of verbiage about how important it is to "tell a story".
Lost in the haze of PR self promotion? Something very, very simple: PR and Marketing exist to promote your company's products and services - they aren't some kind of isolated service that exists to create some kind of "aura" around the company. Stories are great - so long as they are related to your products and/or services.
I don't claim to be a PR guru, but I do know this: it's crucial to let people know what your products are, how they work, and what problems they solve. That's why we do things like the weekly podcast - to highlight how Smalltalk gets used. That's why we do "Smalltalk Daily" - short screencasts that explain various aspects of the products we offer. That's why the audio and video are syndicated out through iTunes - it makes it all easier to find and easier to subscribe to.
It's really not that complicated - regardless of what a lot of the "pros" will try to tell you.
Technorati Tags: marketing
Mashable has some interesting thoughts on how to deal with a community when the community has a problem of some kind with you. The answer isn't hard: it involves more communication, quickly. It's just like Jeff Jarvis' "Dell Hell" thing from a few years ago - if you don't respond early, you let other people define the way the problem will be seen. That's ultimately how Microsoft dropped the ball on Vista promotion - they allowed Apple to set the terms under which people would view Vista.
The speed at which these things move reminds me of a movie title: "The Quick and the Dead". You get to pick which one you want to be if you get a social media storm headed your way.
Technorati Tags: marketing
Whether we're talking about cloud storage (like S3), or local storage - the main thing is that it's getting very, very cheap. Western Digital is now listing a 2 TB drive at $299:
Western Digital has started shipping a 2 TB hard drive (that's two terabytes), with a list price of $299.
It's getting to the point where it's harder to remember where I stored something - other than archiving to external drives, I rarely have to delete anything anymore...
Technorati Tags: storage
I've said before that I like Pandora - and the buying experience couldn't be easier. I was listening to a song that I liked, so I hit the menu option under the playlist, and was presented with options for iTunes and Amazon. I hit Amazon, used the "1 click" thing, and boom - the downloader started bringing the album down and tossed it all into iTunes.
The people who think Pandora costs them money - and insist on a per song played fee - are just nuts. It's a marketing and promotional channel, and - like the Monty Python YouTube channel - leads to increased sales. I've run across bands I'd never heard of, and would never have thought to buy music from.
This is why school was delayed this morning:
That's melting now, but at 5:30 AM I'm sure the local roads had ice patches. The net impact on me? The plumbers arrived and I had to jump out of bed to get the door. The work made some progress; now we await electricians...
Phillippe Marschall and Julian Fitzall will be at Google's "Open Source Jam" on February 19th in Zurich, Switzerland. Always good to have a Smalltalk contingent at such things :)
Periodically I've made the point that basic civility is a good thing: don't swear in public, and dress professionally at work. People who know me well are probably chuckling right now; Four letter words come way too easily to me, and - until recently - I "dressed for failure" whenever I went to an office (in this sense, working at home has been a godsend for me).
I've been cleaning up my act on the clothing front, and I make a real effort to avoid nasty language - especially on this blog. The reason? There's just no upside to it.
Ultimately, swearing's purpose is shock - you pull out a curse word in order to put a huge exclamation point on something. If you do that all the time, it's like WRITING WITH CAPLOCKS ON - it gets tiresome very quickly, and people start to see you as the sort of person who yells continually. If you can't express yourself - especially in writing - without resorting to cursing - then you have a serious communication problem. Whether you want to believe it or not, a large proportion of your potential audience is tuning you out.
This came to mind because of this article by Antonio Cangiano - he said:
I hate how being harsh has become fashionable. Whatever happened to manners?
This spontaneous reaction was in response to a blog that attempted to be humorous by using the word "f******" multiple times in reference to Adobe's UIs which were perceived as lacking a native look and feel.
The basic point comes next:
I stand behind those words. Acting bitter on the Internet seems to be increasingly gathering the popularity amongst an audience that's used to being amused and entertained by cheap attacks. Concepts like respect, courtesy, or civility - let alone class - appear to be all but forgotten.
Read the whole thing - Antonio gives a number of good examples. Bottom line - if you want to be respected, it's better to be respectful.
Now I come to think of it, Smalltalkers sent back from the future to kill off "Java Enterprise Architects" would be a good idea.
The remodel continues - today's workers just arrived, so I shot this before they got started:
This article about the limitations of RAID (with large enough amounts of storage) sounds like a real call to start backing up. It's dated from 2007 - I'd love to know if there's any reason to think RAID isn't reaching the limits Robin Harris talks about.
In a vaguely related vein, Google's GDrive is getting closer. Time Machine makes Mac backups easier, but it sounds like Google wants to take what Amazon has with S3 one step further and make a bunch of use cases easier. Off site backup is coming within the reach of mere mortals...
Recent years have seen a gradual shift toward more dynamic languages. Although many of these languages are over 20 years old, they have begun to experience a rebirth, in terms of both use and development. This article takes a look at why this change is happening.
Go read the whole thing
My wife has an ancient PC she's not been using for awhile, but it has old pictures and such on it. She doesn't need or want the machine, but she does want the stuff that's on it. So, I'm pulling that all off to a portable USB drive. It's an actual upgrade for me - my old Linux box is a 400 Mhz Pentium II that no longer seems to want to run Samba :)
I don't have space for a second monitor on my desk, but I did have an old Belkin KVM switch lying around. I hooked that up, but I had absolutely no idea what the keyboard switch was to flip. Fortunately, having access to Google means that nothing is ever really lost - a search later and I found out the magic sequence.
Once this copy finishes, I'll grab a copy of Ubuntu and see how it works on this old 1 Ghz machine.
When I was searching for info on my KVM switch this morning, this "bad site" thing happened to me, too:
We're not quite sure what's going on, but a couple of minutes ago any search result from Google started being flagged as malware with a message stating "This site may harm your computer". Including Google's own websites
Update: Google explains the problem (which has been fixed)
Chris Anderson has kind of a kind of schizophrenic article up on free online services. On the one hand, he says this:
With physical stuff, samples must be doled out sparingly -- there are real costs to be paid. With bits, the free versions are too cheap to meter and can be spread far and wide. That's why so many people businesses (expensive!) are turning into software businesses (cheap!), which is why your cranky tax accountant has morphed into free TurboTax online, your stockbroker is now a trading Web site and your travel agent is more likely a glorified search engine.
Which is part of why so many things are freely accessible online - including our NC download. However, it's not a panacea, as Chris notes later on:
The standard business model for Web companies that don't actually have a business model is advertising. A popular service will have lots of users, and a few ads on the side will pay the bills. Two problems have emerged with that model: the price of online ads and click-through rates. Facebook is an amazingly popular service, but it also an amazingly ineffective advertising platform. Even if you could figure out what the right ad to serve next to a high-school girl's party pictures might be, she and her friends probably won't click on it. No wonder Facebook applications get less than $1 per 1,000 views (compared to around $20 on big media Web sites).
This is why the "do it all with ads" model is not an answer. It works for some entities, like Google (but note that they sell the ad service, they don't actually rely on the ads themselves) - it works less well for sites that want to fund themselves via ads. That's the ugly place that Facebook has landed in, and that Twitter is now pondering. As Chris says, the new revenue model guy at Twitter has his work cut out for him.
What this reminds me of is the experience of being a teacher. If you let the students get away with misbehavior early in the year, it's nearly impossible to enforce discipline later. If you come in with a really strict set of rules that you stick to, it's pretty simple to loosen up as the year goes by and the class settles in. To take that out to business, consumers (and business) have been trained by sites like Twitter - things are free, and they've always been free. Trying to add some kind of pay model now is really hard. I suspect that new companies starting up will have to have a paid model on day one - otherwise their users will have the same expectations that the Twitter user base does.
I think the days of "eyeballs are enough" are over. Eyeballs don't actually pay the bills.
I'm flipping though a copy of CRM (one of the nearly infinite number of magazines that fill my mailbox), and I stumbled on this:
Your marketing team should be growing during a recession... or at least redesigned
This is part of a compilation of tweets that the magazine received recently. I don't think that comment is right - the last thing you need in hard times is more flash and glitz. What you need is more transparency - tell people what problems your product or service can solve. You don't need a bunch of fluff from people desperately looking to "tell a story". What you need is facts about how you can solve the very real problems that your prospects have, at a reasonable price.
On this week's podcast we talk to Terry Raymond, the original author of the debugger that ships with Cincom's Smalltalk products (both VisualWorks and ObjectStudio). We talked about where the debugger came from, and what motivated Terry to write it. We also got into some issues that the debugger has now - mostly edge case type stuff. Finally, we talked a little bit about the future of debugging in Smalltalk. Grab the podcast here.
If you have feedback, send it to email@example.com - or visit us on Facebook or Ning - you can vote for the Podcast Alley, and subscribe on iTunes. If you enjoy the podcast, pass the word - we would love to have more people hear about Smalltalk!
Troy notes that sometimes, well intentioned acts go badly awry - the new consumer safety law might end up shuttering library access for kids:
It seems that Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, apparently in response to the lead scare from China, and it's causing some problems for libraries and (possibly) bookstores. Printers' ink contains lead. Products for children under 12 have to be tested and certified as having a safe lead content.
I have a friend who's involved with the girl scouts, and worries over this are running rampant through the craft people who work with the scouts.
This isn't only a government problem - I hear about companies blocking things like IM "to prevent the spread of viruses" all the time. I wonder how many times they consider how much customer and prospect communication gets whacked as a side effect of the well intentioned screening?
In business and in government, it's helpful to examine baseline assumptions and downstream impacts before taking action.
After the first quarter, even though Pittsburgh was only up by 3, it looked like the game was going all their way. The Cards had the ball for like 1 minute, and their offense looked pathetic. Now? With the first half wrapping up, it looks like it's actually going to be a game.
ESUG is in Brest, France this year - and they are looking for student volunteers:
If you're a student wanting to attend ESUG, have you considered being a student volunteer? Student volunteers help keep the conference running smoothly; in return, they have free accommodations, while still having most of the time to enjoy the conference. Apply soon: there are a limited number of student volunteer positions available. Student volunteers will be notified by the end of May 2009.
Get the full details on the volunteer program here.
Technorati Tags: esug09
The Cards had the ball inside the 5 with 18 seconds left, and the Steelers number 92, James Harrison - a lineman - picked it off and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown. Longest touchdown play in superbowl history. What a turn around in the Cards' fortunes!
Best line after the play - "He's really enjoying his oxygen".
We had to leave our friend's house to come back home - it's a school night, and my wife has medication she needs to take. All heck broke loose while I was in the car :) The Cards drove, got stopped, punted and pinned the Steelers on the one. A holding call on a pass play gave the Cards a safety - and the followed up after the free kick with a TD. I missed 4 minutes of game time, but it was the worst four minutes to miss...
Update: The fireworks weren't over - Pittsburgh marched down for a go ahead TD, and the game ended on a Cards fumble as the Steelers put pressure on Warner. The first half was pretty pedestrian, but the second half was a wild ride. Great game!
So I'm looking at the weather for Dayton tomorrow, as I'm flying in for a meeting at Cincom HQ. I see this at weather.com:
Who knew that was golfing weather?
I thought the proposed delay of the flip to digital TV was a bad idea, but I really didn't think things could be made worse. Well - it seems I lack imagination. Wired reports:
The DTV Delay Bill pushes the date back to June 12, but also allows broadcasters to switch to digital unilaterally, creating the prospect of a patchwork roll out. That peculiarity -- and the notion that delay will do nothing to suddenly inspire a Nielsen-estimated 6 million households to do in the next four months what they haven't bothered to do for the past three years -- killed the bill last week.
So the companies that bid on the VHF spectrum are stuck for another few months, and the rest of the country gets random action. I love it when a plan fails to come together!
We'll have Cincom Smalltalk NC CD's to hand out, and it should be a fun time
Update: I've arrived here in Cincinnati, so I will definitely be at the meeting tonight. See you there!
The theory seems to be "the more the merrier" - there are going to be six versions of Windows 7 available. When you get OS X, there's one version. When you download the typical Linux distro there are two: Server and client. Why on earth would you want six? And who would want "Starter:, limited to:
- No Aero Tweaks
- No more than 3 simultaneous applications
The team that came up with that idea should be part of that 5000 that are getting laid off. From all the reports I've seen and read, Windows 7 looks like it's got the technical goods down. It would be a real shame if the marketing people killed it. I can already see the "switch" ad campaign Apple will brew up in response to this....