Mark Pilgrim shows that he can be as whiny and immature as he accuses Dave Winer of being. Half of this is politics, and the other half is sheer silliness. There's precious little technical merit anywhere around it....
HOP: Multidialect Object Persistency framework presentation Giorgio Ferraris: Elevensoft Wednesday 10:30:00 am to 12:00:00 pm
Abstract: HOP is a persistency framework for various smalltalk dialects (VW, VSE, Dolphin, VA) with a high level of functionality. The framework's development started in the early '90s, and now it's used in hundreds of applications at several customer sites. We are now releasing a free, non commercial version, so this presentation will be a tutorial on the framework's use.
The presentation, with the help of some PowerPoint slide, will demonstrate the use of HOP in the development of a small application, with the definition of classes and the corresponding relational infrastructure for the persistency of objects. To demonstrate the feature of the framework, a small business model based on an Order will be defined.
To demonstrate the data base independence of the resulting structure, a MySql and a Dbase or SQLServer relational data base will be used for persistency.
Bio: Giorgio Ferraris is a chemical engineer totally devoted to software. After years of work as a software free-lance consultant he co-founded, 15 years ago, Eleven srl, a small (20 people) Italian firm developing turn-key software solutions.
He started using Smalltalk more than 15 year ago (Smalltalk/V). He began following the international community first using Compuserve and the Digitalk forum, then participating in Smalltalk and OO related user conferences, starting from the Digitalk one, to SmalltalkSolution and OOPSLA.
He has been involved on OO analysis, design and architecture definition for 10's of customers (from small to medium to large). He follows his company's internal projects like lead technical mentor.
He has held several tutorials on OO, Smalltalk, OO analysis and design for 100's of Italian people and has worked as a mentor and supervisor on several OO projects. He is currently working as a mentor on several OO projects in Italy (Smalltalk, Java and C#), and following a big customer on his evaluation of Smalltalk as his possible next development language of choice.
This paper says they do. Nothing is left unskewered; see this passage:
Some languages, such as Smalltalk and its object-oriented followers, present us with a deluge of classes. It is easier to drown than to swim. Smalltalk itself is simple and elegant. Using it in a practical environment is complex and messy. And, as is usual these days, there is a dearth of documentation. The IDEs for languages such as Smalltalk and Java are conventional GUIs, with their inhumane over-reliance on the mouse. None of this is necessary. It is merely customary.
I will definitely agree with the mousing problems. I think the Refactoring browser obviates some of the other issues, but the over-reliance on the mouse is a real problem. VW has gotten better in terms of having keyboard shortcuts - now it needs to get better in terms of making them consistent.
I've posted a few times now (try this site search) - as you can see, I'm skeptical about the motivations, and cynical about the benefits. Had they stuck to:
- Providing a standard posting format
- Coming up with a best practices document for RSS
we might have seen something useful. Instead, what we have now is a format that has (other than a couple of pointless tags, like subtitle and contributors) all the functionality of RSS 0.91. Soon, this effort will spawn modules that look astonishingly like RSS modules, but with different tag names.
Think about this from two standpoints - one, the end user of a news aggregator. Does necho provide said user any benefit over RSS? The sad truth is, no, it doesn't. In fact, it provides a user experience that looks a lot like an RSS 0.91 feed. Two, how does this affect aggregator authors? It's another format (and, if I'm correct, another set of modules) to support. Does it relieve us of the burden of supporting RSS? No, it doesn't. Does it gives us, as aggregator authors, any information we currently don't have that we could make use of for the end user? No, it doesn't. So, as Mark Bernstein so eloquently put it, this is an unfunded mandate for developers.
I'm sure the necho folks are having a good time; it's always fun to invent something new - even when the new thing has no real point (just find a software engineer and ask if you don't believe me - in particular, find a Lisp or Smalltalk or Java guy and ask them why everything has to exist in native (insert language here)). Looking at this from the outside, it seems to mostly be politics driven. A lot of people either don't like Dave Winer, or think he's too hard to work with. Having read a lot of his posts, I can say that sure, he's posted some childish things. On the other hand, Sam Ruby can be an uninformed jerk as well (read the first comment, and Mark Pilgrim seems to be obsessed with Dave Winer. In other words, this is a bunch of pots calling the kettles black. The lot of them need to grow up and share their toys.
It seems I'm hardly the only one that has a few issues with all this. Have a look at Mike over at Sax.net - here and here. All pretty good points, IMHO. In the end, I'm supporting necho - BottomFeeder parses it, and my blog has a necho feed and a necho comment feed. Right from those examples you can see how much less functional necho is - no way to advertise a comment API. No way to advertise trackback and pingback API's. etc.
In the end, it's mostly just too bad that all this effort is going into necho. That energy could have been directed into something useful. Instead, it's directed into unfunded (and pointless) mandates. I guess in that respect, it's like a lot of the rest of the software industry...
According to star Edward James Olmos, the new miniseries - probably the start of a new series - will not stick to the storylines of the original series. In fact, it looks like they are going to restart from the beginning. There's no way that could be bad :)
Today's spotlight is on Don MacQueen's JWARS Tuning talk:
JWARS performance tuning presentation Donald MacQueen: JWARS Tuesday 3:00:00 pm to 3:30:00 pm
Abstract: JWARS (the Joint Warfare System) is a simulation, written in VisualAge Smalltalk, that models theater level warfare. One of its primary requirements is that the model run 1000:1; that is, a 100 day campaign (2400 hours) must run in 2.4 hours.
This presentation will discuss how we improved JWARS runtime from 133:1 to over 1500:1 by using the profiler, experimenting with settings for old space, and taking care not to overtax the garbage collector.
Bio: Donald MacQueen has been a jWarrior since 1997. He recently added sonobuoy modelling to JWARS for the US Navy. His love affair with Smalltalk began in 1992 when he was toiling in the C++ salt mines, and it's been sunshine and blue skies ever since.
So I'm out at a lunch place with my wife this afternoon - we bought a mocha and a latte, and sat down. Then they tell us, "Sorry, the machine's down. Is regular coffee ok?". I said sure, but asked for a refund of the difference. That's where the trouble started. The clerk stands at the register and looks baffled - he has no idea how to even approach the problem. A girl comes over and tells him to subtract $3.17 from $7.00. He writes the numbers down, buts stops - he has no idea how to actually subtract them. The girl looks at the numbers, realizes that the subtraction involves carrying, and gets baffled. They both look at me for help. Sigh. I tell them to give me $3.83. They are relieved that someone knew the answer, and gave me my change.
Here's the real question - if I had made a mistake, or given them the wrong answer purposely, would they have noticed? I was just stunned - not so much by the inability to do the problem mentally - neither of them could do it on paper!. What are they teaching in schools these days anyway?
From Dennis Smith of Cherniak Software:
I would like to invite all Gemstone users and those interested in gemstone to "an open session on gemstone solutions" Monday July 14th at 4:00pm, at the Smalltalk Solutions 2003 conference. This session will be introduced by a very short presentation on a couple of our "solutions" and will then be opened up to attendees to talk about their use of gemstone, and any problems or solutions they would like to mention. There will be others attending who will be able to discuss problems and ideas. This is also an excellent forum for making contacts which will be of value on an ongoing basis. This should be of interest to gemstone users at any level from novice to advanced. We had such a session two years ago held by James Foster, and it was one of the more useful sessions of the conference.
So if you are using Gemstone, or considering it - check this out
The industry is spinning in circles inventing one "curly brace" language after another - C++, Java, C#, ... The popular object-oriented programming languages of today fatally remind us of the heyday of procedural languages: in the 60ies, a cluster of very similar languages (Fortran, PL/I, COBOL, Algol) dominated the IT business, until the advent of C changed the world. Finally, a language invented by programmers for programmers! C was a revolution; Java and C# are just evolution. Where is the C language of our times?
lol. We already have plenty of candidates - Smalltalk, Lisp, Python, Ruby - the issue is that IT shops and developers are blinkered into a curly braces world view, mostly unable or unwilling to venture out and look at something different. People like Bob Martin have been talking up dynamic languages - all we need is for more people to get interested. Go read the rest of the article - it's an interesting lament. Someone tell Angelika that Smalltalk and Lisp are still kicking, and that Python and Ruby are out there.
I added a new feature to BottomFeeder a few days ago - when you select an item, you can spawn an email based on that item. At first, I was just spinning up an internal Bf mail tool. A few people asked me about providing access to the default mail client on Windows - only I had no idea how to prefill fields like the subject and body. After some more abuse on that topic, I went and googled for mailto: - and realized that all the support I needed was already part of the way things work. So now, when you see an item you are interested in - just send it along using the built in support.
Via Clarence Westberg:
One thing I have learned from aggregators, it is amazing how we can shape what we percieve the news to be based on what we look for. Makes you think about who the aggregators are for the real news media.
Makes you think - about all of our tendencies to reinforce our own biases.
They both seem to like the SCO dustup - Sun just bought more licenses and an option to invest. Feh - a pox on both their houses!
Looks like I'm going to end up looking at Ruby after all. My issue with Ruby (and Smalltalk) is that I don't think that I buy that everything needs to be an object.
I can't say that this has ever looked like a problem to me - and I've seen plenty of code that made no such assumptions ;). In cases where a real object model doesn't seem to make sense, you can always just use a class and just write class methods - but again, I don't know how often that need would come up.
I've got some nasty travel stories, but this one from the Ken Coar is in a league of its own. You couldn't write fiction like this...
Wired points out the inevitable problems caused by working when everyone else is asleep. I've seen articles on the health problems third shifters have, so this is not a terribly huge surprise. There's never a free lunch...
After I posted on my IE weirdness problems, one of my readers sent me an email suggesting spyware as a potential culprit. I really need to re-up my norton subscription, but in the meantime, I ran ad-aware (highly recommended!) found 30 different things hanging around my system. Cleaned them out, and we'll see how it goes. Thanks Rick!
A few weeks ago, IE started always launching new windows on links. Since I almost always launch browsers from BottomFeeder, I first thought it was a bug in Bf. I did some investigation, and found out that it happened regardless of how I hit an URL. I hadn't purposely reset any options in IE, and under Tools - Internet Options - Advanced there are a bazillion options. eventually, I noticed that reuse windows for launching shortcuts was unset. Ok, setting that fixed the problem - back to the way I wanted the damn thing to work.
Things were fine for awhile, and then suddenly two days ago, the same thing started happening. I had fortgotten what option it was, so it took some careful browsing of the various options to remember - but there it was, unset again. Well frell - how did that happen? Anyone know how or why IE just up and decides to turn that option off?
Sun really makes me wonder. They say they want to increase the number of Java developers from 3 million to 10 million - left unstated is how this would actually help Sun's bottom line. Sun seems to be trapped in one of those cycles that some companies get into. I saw this at PPD - the management there between 1997 and 1999 had decided that Java and Java tools were where all the money was - even when they heard things like this from customers (Smalltalk) and prospects:
If I buy Java tools, why would I buy them from you?
Sun is stuck in the same place. They make all their money from Solaris on sparc - Java server installations can run equally well on Solaris and Linux - (or Windows, for that matter) - and here was Sun's CTO on that topic:
Linux, and Linux on the x86 architecture in particular, will make inroads into the Windows market. With the ability to run several different flavors of Unix on an inexpensive x86 system, the option to run the prohibitively expensive Windows platform becomes significantly less attractive. We believe we'll see this transition happen slowly, as companies realize that the availability of Unix on x86 means they can get an easier-to-manage system with better uptime and performance than was previously available.
Apparently, Sun's CTO hasn't noticed that server installations of both Linux and Windows are increasing - Linux is taking a far, far bigger bite out of proprietary Unix than of Windows, at least at this point. The transition from a Unix server to a Linux server is far, far easier than the transition from a Windows server to a Linux server is.
So what's Sun's answer to all this? More spending on free Java tools (Rave). Yeah, there's a plan. Anything sun does with Rave will exist on Eclipse, either before it gets to Rave, or shortly thereafter. And in the tools space, Eclipse has all the buzz - there's even an Eclipse for Smalltalkers talk at Smalltalk Solutions 2003! Want to bet on there ever being such a thing for Rave? Then there's buzz like this.
My guess is that Rave will be every bit as successful as NetBeans. The only question is how long it will take Sun to figure it all out. When PPD got infected by C level cluelessness, it stayed on that path until bankruptcy. Unless McNealy goes, I think the same will happen to Sun.
Smalltalk Solutions 2003 is rapidly approaching - I plan to take notes and blog the various talks - both formal and informal - that I attend. Anyone interested in having their notes posted can send them to me - I'll give credit and post the notes here. It should be a great conference.
Today's spotlight is on Travis Grigg's VW fonts talk:
Fun with (VisualWorks) Fonts presentation Travis Griggs: Key Technologies Monday 8:30:00 am to 9:30:00 am
Overview: VisualWorks fonts are not the most understood of things. Many VW programmers pass up the opportunity to make their applications look nicer than they could, because they little understand the fonts. Recently, frustrated with merging font hacks for PDP, super/sub-script support, and the RB Code Highlighter, I implemented the ExtraEmphases framework. This presentation will cover why and how that was implemented, as well as how to use and extend it. Hopefully, along the way, we can provide a better understanding about how the basic font system works.
Bio: Travis works for Key Technology, figuring out how to sort the world's food (among other things). He's worked with Smalltalk (mostly, but not entirely VisualWorks) since 1991. His work in that domain ranges from embedded programming to high level user interface design. Before coming to Key Technology, he worked at Siemens Power Corp writing nuclear fuel design automation software in Smalltalk. When not hacking for Key, he does his best to contribute to various open source projects, some in Smalltalk, some not.
Ted Leung posts on a BOF at OSCON. the BOF - Dynamic Language support in the MS CLR - apparently, with members of the MS CLR team. That's really good news! Sun has been utterly ignoring this space for years now, since they want to see all Java, all the time - us Smalltalk folks have to take the goodness where we see it.
I think the "gift economy" and "peer respect" aspects are often overemphasized as reasons for programmers to contribute to open source projects. Most people contribute fixes and new features for selfish reasons: They're using the program and have fixed bugs or implemented new features that they need in their own daily use of the system, whether they use it at home or for business purposes. I remember Linus saying at one time that now he wanted to concentrate his own work on power-saving features for the Linux kernel, because he just got a new laptop and felt that the battery time needed improvement.
Pretty much the size of it, IMHO. People will do all sorts of work without formal compensation - but that will be stuff they want to do, and - in general - won't include 'finishing touches' type work. Think about it - how many unfunded open source efforts come with reasonable documentation? Or a decent GUI? Or a set of configuration files you can figure out? The 'grunt work' that no one wants to do doesn't typically get done unless someone is funding it.
I don't have $10,000 to bribe people with, so I guess I'll just have to put my blog on the line instead. Six months after whatever (n)Echo is to become is released, I will hereby cease to provide ANY form of RSS.
Yeah, there's a plan. First, necho needs a lot more functionality before it can replace RSS. There are a lot of useful modules, there's categories (of what possible use is subtitle, for goodness sake?) - and so on. BottomFeeder already supports necho (in the dev stream for 3.1), and I have a necho feed here - but there's no way I'm getting rid of the RSS feed - it's more fully functional, and - for the forseeable future - more easily consumed.
Today's spotlight is on Norm Green's Gemstone tuning talk:
Performance Tuning in GemStone/S tutorial (extra cost applies) Green, Norm: Gemstone Wednesday 2:00:00 pm to 5:30:00 pm
Abstract: Gemstone performance tuning tutorial.
Bio: Norm Green has been using Smalltalk since 1992 when he worked for IBM Canada Manufacturing (now Celestica Inc.) in Toronto. There he was a lead developer on the DACS project, a data collection and shop floor control system written in GemStone/S and VisualWorks. Green joined GemStone in 1996 as a Senior Consultant and has traveled the world helping GemStone customers with their projects. Currently he manages the Smalltalk Engineering team at GemStone. Green earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick in 1989.
dW: What do you think about software quality? Beck: I wish developers would consider the enormous consequences of their actions. When I got my driver's license at 16, I was both elated and terrified; I had newfound freedom and responsibilities to go with it. Now, compare that feeling to when Microsoft sends me a new operating system. Do I have the same feeling? No, I think it's going to screw up my life for months. For how many decades and for how many millions of people has that negative emotion been created around software. I think it's such a shame we set our sights so low. Either you're stuck with software that works the way it works because you don't want to break it, or you get an upgrade that causes pain and anguish. I just want my stupid computer to work and it doesn't. That's not computing.
Of course, Kent migrated his work from Smalltalk to Java, so one could argue that he's being part of the problem, not part of the solution. He knows damn well that static typing is sub-optimal, and that there are far better solutions - Smalltalk, Python, Ruby, Lisp - than Java. If someone of his stature started speaking out on that topic, it might help.
There's been interest expressed in having a Store BOF at StS, and the consensus now is to hold it during lunch (noon) on Monday, July 14th. so if you have Store issues/concerns/questions, look up Alan Knight on monday at noon!
This is interesting. I've personally been very cynical about the necho format, but Adam Curry is pissed:
The $10k didn't 'just' give me an automatic base within the userland community, it got pasted on web pages all over the world and I've built up an audience that consists of 50% aggergator users.
But this investment is clearly being halted short by the (N)echo project.
So I'm invoking an age olde american tradition of letting my wallet do the talking. I will again invest $10k in aggregator default placements this year, but I will spread it around, to all developers who adhere to RSS2.0. Include (N)echo and you're out of luck.
Well, that will open some eyes.
When I started using an RSS newsreader daily, some remarkable things happened that I didn't necessarily expect: I began to spend almost no time surfing to keep up with current technology information, and I was suddenly able to manage a large body of incoming information with incredible efficiency. My newsreader has become so integral that it's now sitting in my Windows startup folder along with my e-mail client and contact manager. I'm humming "RSS Killed the Infoglut Star" when I fire up my RSS newsreader in the morning.
That's what I've discovered as well. There are a handful of non-RSS enabled sites I still visit - Dilbert and Day by Day being my two favorites. Other than that, most of my browsing proceeds directly from BottomFeeder, based on the subscribed content I'm actually interested in. This is just so much better than going through an enormous favorites list each day. I'm starting to think that a combination of wikis and comment enabled blogs could easily replace most internal email as well - making it far easier to find out what's going on in projects I need to track. RSS is still in the what's that stage for most people, and the not Echo project will be seen the same way. That's about to change, with AOL jumping into the blogging fray. Doc Searls was right - RSS newsreaders are TiVo for bloggers. Soon, bloggers won't be the only ones.
Dear Abby weighs in on blogs and etiquette. Appropriate noises about the end of the world as we know it are off stage, left....
The technical jargon problem goes beyond the IT industry. Just as non-tech management and workers often have no idea what we are talking about, consumers have an even dimmer idea of what the industry is talking about. Here's a story outlining the problem. You can see the problem in any ad for PC products or new electronics - while many of us in the tech sector understand the terminology, most non-tech consumers are baffled:
Terms such as MP3 and Bluetooth are only understood by a small number of people, a report by a consumer research group found. The findings are bad news for the industry, as it suggests that the baffling terms are putting people off buying the latest gadget. "The technology industry must simplify its vocabulary so that consumers around the world can better understand the benefits technology can bring to their lives," said Patrick Moorhead, chairman of AMD's Global Consumer Advisory Board, which commissioned the study.
In the IT shop, this kind of thing causes grief - but in the consumer space, it costs money - it's hard to sell gadgets when the potential customer has no idea what the heck they are. If you have a ReplayTV or a Tivo, you've probably already seen this in action - when I first describe the device to friends and acquaintences, the common reaction is huh??. Then I show them the device. In a quick demo, people tend to ooh and ahh appropriately. This is looks like a problem throughout the tech sector.
It's also an issue in development. The blogging community seems to have no idea just how isolated from reality it is right now. while we argue and fuss over RSS and necho, go ask some line developer about blogs and RSS. you'll likely be surprised when you find out how much they don't know. What the entire tech sector needs is the Star Trek Universal Translator, so that we can communicate with the rest of humanity....
I read this story on MS bloggers with interest. It seems to me that MS is tacitly encouraging blogging, which is good - and the bloggers themselves are watching themselves. That's pretty much what I do here - since I post on Cincom's servers, I try to police myself. Eventually, some blogger somewhere is going to cross a line that irritates management at their firm, and it will be very interesting to see what (if any) fallout comes from that. I'm sure all corporate bloggers are wondering about that. In the meantime, we try to be interesting within our own self described boundaries....
I posted on this reverese engineering lawsuit earlier, and then came across this story in Linux Today. Combine the two together, and you end up handing MS (or any large company that gives source code access) an interesting weapon - any future open source efforts by developers who saw the shared source could be liable to suits given this precedent. It's an interesting potential issue; I wonder if corporate lawyers will try to use this.
It's clear what The Register means here, but I have to hand it to whoever put this eye grabbing headline up:
Spam and porn lift SurfControl
Yep, that one caught my eye and lured me to follow the link :)
Ben Hammersly notes that there are classes being taught on how to blog. Like he said, whoa
The Register pees on Oracle's cornflakes this morning:
As a leading influencer of IT strategy and directions, Oracle's IT vision is
- We're all heading towards one single enterprise database, and
- We are spending too much on hardware
For the first time Oracle appears to be seriously out of touch with the reality of IT architectural thinking. Most people would only agree with one of those three goals, and there is an alternative vision
Interesting takedown of a corporate level strategy.
Java's niche of being the COBOL replacement for the new century. And when I say niche, I must point out that this is a big niche. When viewed from the perspective of programmers employed, lines of code written and the direct influence on peoples lives from day to day over the last half century, COBOL is the elephant in the programmers' kitchen that everyone seems to try to ignore.
But in terms of advancing the art of computer programming, it's a niche nonetheless. The history of COBOL development has lied in advancing the art of COBOL, without appreciably much of that art making it beyond that barrier.
Java is successful, there's no argument about that. But it's leading to nothing new - all the interesting things are happening elsewhere - Agile didn't start in Java, AOP didn't start in Java - the list goes on. That makes Java an ok language for business (overly complex IMHO - I really don't think that the VB or Cobol crowd are interested in that level of complexity) - but it's not where the innovation is.
nEcho continues to fly off the rails. I'm afraid this process is broken; perhaps, irreparably. (Roger Benningfield, Doug Miller, Zeldman) In the absence of any sort of agreement on the desirability of junking XML-RPC, it seems that people decided to 'declare consensus'.
This sure ain't the consensus I learned about at a Quaker college.
The upshot of requiring every server to support three separate interfaces will be to ensure that none of the interfaces will actually be definitive. This leads, in turn, to the standard being "whatever works". People will write software to cater to bugs. People will write clients for programs, not standards
Yeah, I'm in agreement again. Maybe all of us necho cynics should get together and drown our sorrows.... It is hard to keep up with the laundry list of API's being churned. Trackback and Pingback (at least 3 different forms, by my last count - and from the outside, how the heck do you tell which one an advertised link uses? Then there's going to be an necho variant, I'm sure. The Blogger API, and the MetaWebLog API's, and the necho variants (using gosh only knows how many forms - REST, SOAP, but not XML-RPC).... The level of complexity is growing by the minute.
InfoWorld reports on a court ruling that makes reverse engineering in software actionable, if the EULA forbids it. That sounds semi-reasonable, until you read more and realize that reverse engineering could be taken to be "we looked at a competing product to see what we could do better". The lawyers will be happy with this one....
While Sinbad is billed as a kid's movie, it's well worth seeing. The story is more complex than either of the last two (disappointing, IMHO) Star Wars flicks. It moved along well, had lines that worked both for the kids and for the adults - and was altogether entertaining. Recommended.
Today's spotlight is on Reg Crock's talk on Smalltalk and automotive systems:
Automotive Manufacturing Execution Systems In Smalltalk experience report Reg Krock: Locksley Creek Software Monday 4:45:00 pm to 5:30:00 pm
Abstract: This session would review the experience of implementing a distributed VAST solution in three automotive plants. The experience report would review the original design and how it improved from plant to plant.
Issues involved included guaranteed fast response time, robustness, agile systems using simplified rules and actions, and coordination of the entire system. The most recent system had a shop floor response time of approximately 20 milliseconds per event. It has met this and other requiements well, had a very smooth implementation, and is now a great success story.
Bio: Reg Krock has been involved in software development, in a variety of management and development roles, for the last 25 years. For the last 7 years he has been involved in the development of Smalltalk applications in the manufacturing environment, primarily real-time manufacturing execution systems for automotive plants. He has also been involved in the development of Smalltalk applications for the steel and automotive parts sectors.
My take is that this is fiction, but hey - decide for yourself. Via the .NET guy:
Someone anonymous posted to the Joel on Software message board about having their software protection cracked in just 3 days. Yeah, typical, but the real interesting one was this anonymous response:
We have a full time employee whose sole job is to be involved in the cracker community. He has high prestige because he has been first out the gate with several high profile cracks -- all of our own software of course. Because he is actively involved in producing high profile, high quality cracks, he has also acquired the personal contact info regarding a large number of other crackers. We maintain a mailing address for him near a foreign branch office to cover his own tracks.
This provides us with a couple of advantages: our cracked software contains a trojan that not only logs information about the users computer, but also scans their system for other cracks. This information is transmitted back to us and we share it with a few other companies that use this system. The information is stored in a database where it is made available to the FBI for use in their own investigations.
Sounds fishy to me, but maybe not.
Today's Spotlight is on David Simmons and Joseph Pelrine's S# tutorial. While I'm personally skeptical about some of the language mods Dave has made, it's clear that S# is raising the profile of Smalltalk:
Delivering Smalltalk natively on .NET with S#.NET and S#.AOS and Competing on a level playing field tutorial (extra cost applies) David Simmons and Joseph Pelrine: Smallscript, MetaProg Tuesday 2:00:00 pm to 5:30:00 pm
Abstract: This tutorial will present the working S#.NET and S#.AOS system toolset and language. Attendees will learn how to write secure, verifiable applications, components, and frameworks in Smalltalk that deploy natively on .NET.
Special focus will be given to both business and technical aspects of creating libraries in Smalltalk that can be consumed and/or sold for standard use and consumption by any other .NET language. If you want options for being able to write code in Smalltalk while conforming to mainstream demands for .NET interop compliance and compatibility with languages like C# and VB then this tutorial is for you.
S# is a modular superset of the Smalltalk-98 language offering a rich, generalized, object model for dynamic languages on both its own native SmallScript AOS platform and the Microsoft .NET Platforms.
Bio: David Simmons has been designing and developing language systems and virtual machines for since the early 1980's. He was the principal designer and architect for commercial toolset within QKS Smalltalk-91 and its multi-language, multi-threaded execution engine. His most recent work has been the design and development of S# within the SmallScript Language System, a modular multi-threaded platform for dynamic languages. His design work has focused heavily on complexity management, portability, modularity, performance, object models, and meta-object protocol capabilities for supporting a superset of today's popular programming language features.
But to blithely assume that we can load developers with endless unfunded mandates (lots of the echo people want every weblog tool to support three different echo api's, in addition to blogger and metaweblog) and not have everything blow up.
Essentially all the professionals in this space -- people who go to work every day to build shipping products that use RSS -- are feeling queasy about nEcho. Everyone is on board -- and I think everyone is worried
That's where I'm at with this.
I've not been terribly enthusiastic about the echo effort. however, it does look like it's picking up steam, and it will likely evolve into something useful. So, the dev builds of BottomFeeder now support feeds in this format. Also, I've added an necho feed for this blog and for the comments. Thus far, the format is less useful (IMHO) than RSS 2.0 with modules, but it looks like something I need to support.
One of the things Store doesn't have is support for versioning external files. That's coming, but in the meantime, David Pennell of Quallaby has placed a File Repository package into the public Store. Here's what he says about it:
You might want to take a look at the FileRepository package that I just published in the public repository. I think you have something similar on the VW futures list - this seems like it might be useful for maintaining ASP/JSP pages.
From the package comment:
This package allows you to place text files under VW's source control. Create a subclass of FileRepository and add methods containing a <file:'filename'> pragma.
Refactoring Browser buttons are provided for comparing the internal and external version of files, updating the internal or external file and launching the Differator. Browsing a file method will automatically compare the internal and external file. You must close and re-open Refactoring Browser's in order for the extensions be activated. Internal files are not stored in the image, but are stored in the change file. Adding a post load action to a StORE package of the form: [:package | MyFileRepository updateAllInternalToExternal ] will cause external files to be created or updated if necessary when a package is loaded.
Enjoy, David Pennell Quallaby Corporation
Sounds very useful - check it out.
A lot bigger. AOL is going to introduce blogging to their user base. Expect some old timers to whine about this, but it's a good thing.
Andrew Birkett shares a revelation with us. It's a great read - go see what he's on about:
As I said earlier, you get a much more engaging experience if your objects are tangible and manipulable. The traditional presentation of source code as plain old text might be familiar, but it's hardly earth-shattering. Squeak has alternative ("tiles") rendering mode for source code which displays the structure geometrically. When you realise that the contents of your ASCII text file is just one particular representation of the "Platonic Ideal" version of your code, you start wonder if it's a good representation, or if it's a load of rubbish.
I sat down this morning and added support for the necho Format. It only took a few to add it - it's nearly identical (with different tag names to confuse things) to RSS. The current dev build - change your upgrade path to /dev at the end - will handle the new format. Thus far I'm ignoring the contributor tag, but I'll get around to that eventually.
I have much the same feeling. The one thing that I wish was different was performance. I know that Python is supposed to be for gluing C apps together, but I just did a little hacking on Kai Hendry's LuPy version of my Lucene plugin for pyblosxom, and it wasn't pretty. I wasn't sure that LuPy was reading the Lucene index files right, so I decided to reindex using a LuPy based indexer. Talk about slow.
I find this all kind of frustrating. I can say that I am vastly more productive in VisualWorks now than I was a few years ago - the tools are better, the language is better. Performance is much better - and you should see this talk at StS for info on how it's goiig to get better still. Smalltalk has evolved quite nicely, thank you very much - and I'm sure that the various Lisp tools have as well, although I have no real experience with them. There's actually fairly vigorous competition in the Smalltalk space, because we have multiple vendors - we get various takes on what works and what doesn't, instead of what Sun knows is best or what Microsoft knows is best. Why is Eclipse boring? Perhaps it's because - unlike Smalltalk and Lisp - it takes no advantage of being written in itself. You can't modify the environment, or even ask intelligent questions of it. Being able to do so is what leads to productive tools. Python doesn't quite get there, because - as a scripting language - people tend to use things like vi and emacs to develop. Productivity simply does not lie that way.
So what is this collective blind spot in the developer universe? Is it the siren song of Open Source and free tools? Are developers thinking that if its not free, they won't use it? That's part of it, I'm sure. And it's an interesting problem. certainly those same developers don't want to work for free - they want to be paid like everyone else. This leads to this theory: You should make money from consulting, not from the tools. To which I respond: Why?. You do realize that under that theory, small shops are pretty much locked right out? You need a certain scale in order to have a bunch of developers and a bunch of consultants. And before you say that the developers should be the consultants - not every developer is really suited to a customer facing position. Does the developer community really want to write off all the potential tool builders who are unwilling or unable to be consultants at the same time? Apparently so.
I think a lot of developers need to wake up and realize that "free" tools largely means bland, corporate tools - and bland, corporate languages. It takes a large outfit to be able to treat tools as loss leaders - leaving little room for small to mid-size outfits that might want to concentrate on different approaches. Even in curly brace land, all the interesting tools have been acquired (and then mostly disappeared). People seem to recognize that you get what you pay for - right up to the point where they select development tools. Then they expect a handout. If we stay on this path, we'll keep right on down the road described by Larry O'Brien.
Ted Leung has a great use case for RSS - who's going to do this first?
Bob Werken posted about PapersInvited.com, the Largest listing of call for papers in all areas of specialization.
This whole area would be a great application RSS. You could have RSS feeds for researchs in particular feeds. Those RSS feeds could be driven off the RSS feeds from the program committee chairs. The feeds could help with all the logistical announcements that go along with announcing a call for papers, reminding people that the call is going to expire, announcing the program, announcing the arrangements, and making announcements about the conferences.
Actually, I'm surprised that O'Reilly isn't trying to do something like this with an RSS feed for their conferences. I know I'd subscribe to a feed for OSCON and ETCON...
I fixed two small issues with BottomFeeder:
- If you had autho-browse empty descriptions turned on, you got an error. I fixed this in the 8.101 version of the code
- Some feeds use GUID instead of link - no good reason for that, but there are politics surrounding RSS. In any case, Bf now uses the GUID if the link is missing, and the GUID is an URL
What's nice about the update feature is that I don't have to manage farms of patches or rush a new version out - I can just have the application offer to upgrade itself.