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).
Technorati Tags: mac
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.
One of Smalltalk's original design goals was to make learning easier; now the people behind the OLPC are using Scratch (built in Smalltalk) to accomplish that goal:
Scratch is a (highly-)visual programming language aimed at the every man - even if the every man has yet to reach his ninth birthday. With this WYSIWYG environment - available as a free download here - you can piece together interactive digital apps in much the same way you'd piece together LEGOs. And that's not hyperbole. At a workshop this morning inside San Jose's Fairmount Hotel, more than a few programming novices built their own mini-apps in (literally) a matter of minutes.
My daughter took a tumble down the stairs this morning, so I'm enjoying the sheer joy of the emergency room while they x-ray her ankle. At least we have wifi...
Update: Fortunately, it was just a sprain - although it looks to me like the crutches are a whole bunch of not-fun...
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we take a look at one approach for specifying pre-reqs in ObjectStudio, when you have a package/archive that depends on ObjectStudio application. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch on Vimeo:
or on YouTube:
Here's a screencast produced by the folks at our excellent partner, the Heeg company out of Germany. It demonstrates how to connect our Smalltalk products with SAP applications via NetWeaver. This isn't part of the product, but we are interested in getting feedback on interest in it - so if you like what you see, please contact us. We'll be happy to get you more information. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Can Star Wars sink lower than the last set of movies? After having seen the ending of the prequel trilogy is seems hard, but heck - I'm sure Lucas will manage to do worse.
Can someone show him the original "Star Wars" (not the recut variants), and ask him to just stop?
To judge by pop culture (tv shows) and anecdotal evidence, lawyers have been one of the strongest markets for the BlackBerry. Given that, RIM might be getting worried by stories like this:
"You can open to review all PDF and Word files and Excel spreadsheets, and shortly Documents to Go will be available that will allow you to edit these files on the iPhone," he told The Industry Standard.
That explains why they rushed the Storm to market. Had the UI not been so clunky, I might well have stayed with Verizon - I had been using their service happily since the mid 90's. RIM has the harder job, too: they have an installed base that wants and expects the real keyboard, but they also have Apple harshing their mellow with the touchscreen. Not an enviable position.
Being on time for a court appearance is important, but this is probably still a bad idea:
Spinnie, 42, of Norwood, is accused of stealing a Chevrolet Uplander Tuesday in order to get to his 9 a.m. arraignment at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
To be clear, the stuff I have on my Toshiba Gigabeat sounds bad as well. It's not just an Apple thing. It's the low-quality-for-the-sake-of-drive-space that's the problem.
Rob is complaining about the quality of CD sound compared to mp3 (AAC, etc) files. That's kind of funny, because CDs have been criticized heavily over the years by audiophiles as a bad experience. You can get downloaded music with much higher bit rates than what CDs hold, but that's kind of beside the point: most of us aren't audiophiles.
This reminds me of the old "Beta was better than VHS" thing. What people forget about that is that VHS allowed for longer record times - watching half of a movie just wasn't that interesting, regardless of the video quality. The same thing applies here: being able to cart around an entire music collection in your pocket is a whole lot easier than carrying CDs or, gosh forbid, LPs.
The market has voted, and values the convenience much, much more highly than the quality. A large part of that is simply this: life isn't a concert hall, and most of the time, music is something in the background.
According to Gartner, Microsoft is still a player in the Smartphone space. I knew that, but it's not something that gets a lot of press. One of the phones they mention is the Samsung Omnia (again, one that doesn't get much press) - it sounds like most of the sales for it would be in Europe though. From Engadget:
Unfortunately, the phone has to get slapped with the usual word of warning that you won't be able to latch onto any 3G in North America, because Samsung (in its infinite wisdom) saw fit to forgo a triband 3G chipset. These days, we're not buying any justification for this, particularly in a phone that sits this far up into the high end. Want to sell this only to your European customer base? That's fine, Samsung, but many of those folks are going to be traveling stateside on occasion, and they're going to want fast data when they do.
That's curious, but Samsung has its work cut out for it. To get a competitive touch experience, they've reskinned Windows Mobile completely (to varying levels of success and failure - follow the links to Engadget's review for details).
It sounds like MS isn't paying much attention to the mobile space right now, but is doing ok on the inertia of their early entry. I wonder if they'll step back up.
I almost categorized this as humor - it's just so odd:
What seemed like a simple gun possession case became an undeclared war over reality: Was Officer Ettienne a diligent cop who found a gun after chasing an ex-convict weaving through traffic on a stolen motorcycle? Or was his story a "devious" facade in keeping with the ruthless character he revealed on social network Web sites?
Besides the "devious" mood setting, the jurors learned that a few weeks before the trial, the officer posted this status on his Facebook page: "Vaughan is watching "Training Day" to brush up on proper police procedure."
A lot of formerly private talk is now much, much more public with things like Facebook and Twitter...
Technorati Tags: social media
Looks like the Squeak Board elections have wrapped up - go here to see who's on the board for the coming year.
Travis doesn't think much of the new Safari (version 4):
I tried the Safari 4 beta preview for about a week now. I hate it. So, I've made the switch.
I hadn't paid much attention - I normally use Firefox on my MBP. My daughter updated Safari on the iMac though, and wow - the placement of the tabs is just stupid. By putting them on the window pane, it virtually ensures that you'll end up in an unexpected place every time you select the window.