This has pretty much ground my part of the state to a halt:
Twitter has been fairly stable over the last few months, including during the election night and inauguration crush - but it's back to fail whale status today, at least for me. Is this a problem with Twiter, or an east coast snow related problem with the network operations?
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If I feel burnt out, what do I do? I go for a jog, maybe take a "mental health day", where I mostly read or play with the Wii. What does the rich guy do? Spends a month in Hawaii. Mind you, I have nothing against rich people. I'd love to be rich myself - if for no other reason so that I could spend an idle month in Hawaii...
If you're interested in Seaside and Web Velocity, and in the Cincinnati area tomorrow night, then why not come to the Agile Roundtable meeting? I'll be presenting Smalltalk, Seaside, and Web Velocity. It should be a great time!
You can get all the location information here.
We had a great turnout and a lot of good questions at the meeting tonight - I want to thank Mark Windholtz for rescheduling after last month's snow-out. Here are some pics from the meeting - that's me getting ready:
Mark Windholtz giving some basic background on Smalltalk:
This is me after the talk ended, as we were just wrapping up:
This is pretty cool news - Amazon has released "Kindle for iPhone" software (I'm installing it on my iPhone as I write this). This part of their explanation is interesting to me:
Mr. Freed says he expects that users of the iPhone application would read their books for 20 to 30 minutes at most, after which eye strain or battery life might become a problem.
I don't know about that. I installed the "Classics" application awhile back, and I've been using it to read "Huckleberry Finn". Doesn't give me any eye strain, and battery use seems to be no worse than using any other application.
This is almost what my wife really wants - she wants this kind of software directly on her Macbook, because she'd like to have all the media she consumes in one place. Looks like all of that is getting pretty close.
I think TechDirt is exactly right about this - going over a lawsuit filed by Gatehouse Media against the NY Times, they point out the problem. What was the suit about? Supposed copyright violations - The Times was copying headlines and ledes with links back to the source. Gatehouse claimed that this was stealing readers, but TechDirt says that's bogus:
What more could you have done? You could have competed more effectively. Owens complains about "substitute home pages," where the Boston.com was trying to take away GateHouse's readers. There's a pretty straightforward response to that: if that's all it takes to take away your community, you've failed your community.
That's exactly right, and it's not limited to newspapers. If any media source starts to fail its community, that community will go elsewhere. Some people will - like too many media managers - point the finger of blame elsewhere, but they really need to look in the mirror. If you are losing readers, it's not because someone else is stealing them - it's because you aren't providing any reason for them to come to you.
I shouldn't be surprised by Muzak Corp. entering chapter 11 - I can't recall the last time I heard Muzak anywhere. Even the big department stores now play "real" music instead of the Muzak variety. Still, it was always there when I was a kid - and the linked article gets into that history.
I've been heads down at meetings here at Cincom HQ all day - we've made some good progress on some of our short term business/product planning. I don't have much more that I can say about that right now, but I'm happy with how things have gone today :)
We videotaped the agile roundup meeting from last night - I have to take a look at it first (I've been in meetings all day today) - but I should have it posted within a day or two. The presentation was well attended and pretty well received - we got some very good questions as well. We'll see how the video looks :)
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we look at a small system modification that will allow to to have your application delegate the dock icon back to the Mac - in other words, allowing your application to appear in the Dock the same way other running applications do. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
I have to admit, this is a move I would not have predicted:
We may see an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office after all. Yesterday, at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop said Microsoft would release an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office 14 -- Office 14 is expected to hit stores in 2010. Elop said the purpose behind releasing a free version of Microsoft Office with ads displayed alongside the workspace was to draw "pirate customers into the revenue stream."
That's a pretty stark sign of how much churn there is across the software sales space - Office is one of the two main revenue sources for Microsoft, so seeing them willing to release an ad supported version is a pretty big change. I'm sure that lots of software vendors will be paying attention - both to see if it happens, and - if it does - how well it works out.
Wired has an article up about the Mac Mini, and why Apple has neglected serious updates to it for so long. I don't know the answer to that one, but I think I can take a stab at this, which comes at the end, asking "what do people buy it for?"
And though that small number is unsubstantiated, it would make sense given the responses ZDNet is receiving from Mac Mini owners regarding what they do with their puny desktops. The examples include cheap server setups, digital music servers for audiophiles and replacements for Windows PCs. But, as ZDNet also notes, those are all niche markets.
I suspect a lot of people get the mini for the same reason I originally did - it's less exppensive, and you can re-purpose existing hardware (monitor, keyboard, etc) for it. It's a toe dip into the Mac waters, without having to make the commitment required by an iMac or a Macbook. I eventually bought two more Macs (and I use one at work as well) - all based on that initial mini purchase. If I had to guess, I'd guess that a lot of the mini buyers represent the leading edge of new customer acquisition for Apple (in the computer space - in the mp3 space, they are already way, way ahead).
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Michael implements curried blocks in Cincom's VisualWorks:
I had some spare time on my hands for some unknown reason last night, so I knocked up a way to curry blocks in Smalltalk. It follows the same pattern as value:* and cull:* so it should be immediately familiar to fans of blocks.
As he says, this is an experiment, not a product direction. But, if the topic interests you, check it out.
PCWorld reports that Twitter is looking at an AdSense style program for Twitter:
According to Brand Republic advertising network Adjix has launched a new platform that allows text ads to be embedded within "tweets" (Twitter posts). Advertisements could appear at the end of tweets from specific users, who are paid in return for choosing to carry them on their messages.
It's worked pretty well for Google, and it makes a whole lot more sense than trying to put banners on the website. I'll be very curious to see whether they do it, and whether it works out.
I'm not sure what lesson to draw from this post, but it sounds like tempers are short in any sector of the economy that's getting additional stress right now...
Anders Janmyr will be giving a Smalltalk presentation at the Scandinavian Developer's Conference March 24th, in Gothenberg, Sweden:
The presentation will include:
- An introduction to Smalltalk.
- An overview of the language.
- A very basic enumeration of the persistence options in Smalltalk.
- Highlights from Seaside, templating in Smalltalk, and continuations.
- Finally I will wrap up with the reason the Smalltalk is still the best language when it comes to small and medium scale development. The living environment than enables refactoring and the complete availability of open classes that allows putting functionality in its proper place.
Maybe I should have planned a Sweden trip this year :)
A friend sent me a link to this Baltimore Sun story, noting that twitter.com/BWI_Airport gives out status information on airport conditions. That's pretty cool, and it adds one more useful piece to the Twitter user experience.
Interesting side note on media though - in the Sun story, they don't link to the site - they just include the text of the link. What's with that? Is the silly notion that external links will cause people to not come back still alive?
On today's Smalltalk Daily we use Runtime Packager to create an ObjectStudio 8 runtime image. You can use ResHacker to create an executable from that just as you can with VW - have a look at this screencast to see how to do that. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
Abolishing patent and copyright laws sounds radical, but two economists at Washington University in St. Louis say it's an idea whose time has come. Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine see innovation as a key to reviving the economy.
I'm not sure where the right dividing line is, but I think we're too far over on the "draconian protection" side. Interesting to read something all the way across on the other side of that divide.
Hat Tip Chronos
Cincom lead consultant Andreas Toenne will be talking about multi-core/multi-cpu work using Cincom's Smalltalk at the Frankfurt Smalltalk User's Group, March 12th. The details:
|Location:||its-people Frankfurt GmbH
Lyoner Str. 44-48
60528 Frankfurt (Niederrad)
Andreas will be covering the material Arden has posted about on his Product Management blog.
I've been mildly annoyed by the periodic interference my iPhone sends to the speakers (either the ones connected to the MacBook, or the stereo connected via USB to the iMac). After a few really loud buzzes today, I found this via Google - it seems to be common to GSM devices when they access the network. I'd really be happy of there was a solution to this :)
Dare Obasanjo makes a great point about two common sides in design: "get it done now" versus "get the best design now". He uses VB for Excel as his example, and cites arguments from the people on both sides of that - Joel Spolsky on the "ship now" side, and Greg Whitten on the "get the design right" side. I think Dare hits it out of the park with his summary:
The unfortunate thing about this entire incident is that it would have been a great learning experience for Joel if he had stayed on in Excel to see some of the consequences of his design decisions and then be in a position to consider whether he'd made the right tradeoffs in the first place. Of course, this is pretty commonplace when it comes to large software platforms where people can spend 3 5 years working on a single releasewhich in combination with an average job tenure of 4 years in the U.S.(probably less in fast paced the software industry) means that many people never learn from their mistakes or improve their skills over time.
I was having a conversation a few days ago about a similar decision made by a small number of people at what was then ParcPlace 15 years ago that we are still dealing with today. None of the protagonists are still with the product; the only reason I know the history is that I've been continuously with the product over that entire interval. I know I've become way, way more cautious in my desires to have engineering "just bang a feature out now" thought processes - but then again, shipping itself is a feature. I think this is perhaps the single hardest thing to get right in this field.
Is the process of App development for the iPhone/Touch too successful for Apple to handle? AppleInsider thinks it's getting that way:
Where requests for an agreement once took as little as two days for Apple to handle in the early days of the iPhone SDK, coders speaking to AppleInsider and on the iPhone development boards are increasingly reporting delays in initial approval that have changed from days into months -- even for free apps, which require less paperwork than commercial software.
Read the whole story - it sounds like Apple didn't put all the contact points into place that they needed to. I've seen positive press for the Google Android phone - if Apple is leaving developers in the lurch - and Google can make their system seem more attractive - there might be an opening.
Dumb Criminal of the month:
Authorities say they arrested an escaped jail inmate trying to sneak back into the lockup with cigarettes allegedly stolen from a nearby store.
You have to wonder what he was thinking...
On March 3rd I spoke to the Cincinnati Agile Roundtable about Seaside and Web Velocity - I want to thank Mark Windholtz again for inviting me to the group. I'll be releasing audio-only from that later today as this week's podcast (in somewhat shortened form - I cut some of the harder to hear Q&A). I have the video here - just click on the image to watch:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Here's the audio-only for the talk I gave in Cincinnati last week - it's shorter than the video, as I cut down some of the later Q&A. It was a fun presentation, and a good time was had by all - there were lots of good questions. Thanks again to Mark Windholtz! To listen, click 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!
David Meerman Scott says something a lot of marketers don't want to hear:
People say they just want an agency to "tweak our existing Web pages." And, of course, many SEO firms are happy to take their money to do this. Sorry, this doesn't work. The only way to create high search engine results is to create great content that people want to link to.
You can't really "game the system" anymore. There's just too much stuff out there for bad stuff to stay on top for more than a few nanoseconds. When you search for historical information, why do you suppose that Wikipedia usually comes out on top? Because they usually have the best concise summary.
That's what you want to have on your site - the best concise summary. Sure, you also want the in depth stuff, but people looking for information want quick hits (especially with the rise of mobile browsing).
Technorati Tags: seo
Once the gesture based controllers are widespread, we'll never know:
An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out, like in the famous Einstein picture. If he opens his eyes wide, the machine skips to the next tune. A wink with the right eye makes it go back.
Imagine a street full of people yelling at the air and sticking their tongues out....
I have my doubts about this assertion from Informa Telecoms:
Android smartphone sales will outstrip iPhone sales by 2012, market researcher Informa Telecoms & Media has predicted in a new report.
The thing is, to get an iPhone user to switch to the gPhone, the gPhone would have to have compelling advantages. Being "just as good" isn't good enough; the normal inertia of staying with what you have will see to that. I don't think open source vs. proprietary has anything to do with this - but this earlier story about Apple's issues dealing with iPhone developers might. Still, I'm very skeptical.