Novell is backing Mono - which makes it much, much more likely that Mono will be viable. If this works out, Sun will lose the cross platform space they currently dominate with Java.
It's amusing that people still think of Smalltalk as big. The entire VisualWorks install - uncompressed - on this Windows box is about 300 MB. That's for the entire thing, all add ons, everything. So here I am, downloading the Oracle client libraries for Windows - 596 MB compressed. 596 MB compressed, for the client libraries? I think people need to look at other things when they use the word bloat
Apparently you can get a grant for anything in some places: The Register reports on research into the dangers of walking and talking on a cell phone.
A Whole Lotta Nothing reports that Lowes has some security problems with their Wireless networking. Kind of makes you wonder how safe any transaction is, if this is the kind of security stores use...
SG: Notes and Groove creator Ray Ozzie says he's very excited about Longhorn " particularly its validation of Groove innovations in peer-to-peer and XML now baked in to the operating system.
Schwartz: That's a dangerous thing though. The fact that they're baking those things into the OS means that they don't need Ray's product.
SG: He sees the opportunity to build apps on top of that infrastructure.
Schwartz: No company has ever monetized Microsoft's infrastructure in the history of Microsoft.
Hmmm. You can extend that line of reasoning. What should and should not be shipped bundled with the OS? Networking? GUI Shell? File System? The answers to these questions change over time; they are different now than they were 10 years ago. The fact that Scwartz seems to not get that isn't a good thing for a supposed visionary. He goes on with this:
Schwartz: Java clearly presents an environment architected for networked delivery of code. Unlike the Windows environment, our assumption Day One was that we needed to build a network platform -- not a single destination platform -- one that assumed that code couldn't be malicious, that everyone would in fact have malicious intent " and therefore would have to be protected not only from others, but from themselves.
SG: You're saying Longhorn represents Windows getting to where you already are?
Schwartz: I think Longhorn represents an attempt to rearchitect Windows to achieve the same attributes that we have with Java. By the time they deliver, the danger they may face is that they've improved upon a problem space for which the marketplace has already identified alternate solutions.
Oh, you mean the market embraced Java for client side apps? Which planet does this guy live on? Java mostly lives on the server - it's been a roaring success there, but it's failed on the client for the same reason that our product, VisualWorks didn't get that much traction on the desktop - end users really, really want apps to look and feel the same. We are addressing this by moving towards Pollock - which will ultimately yield native widget interfaces in a cross platform fashion. Schwartz still hasn't figured out something I learned a long time ago - people don't want a portable LCD interface.
Read the rest of the article as well - I think Schwartz is off in la la land. He has a whole riff on how the Java phones are (and will continue to be) more popular than the MS SmartPhones - apparently, he's forgotten all about the whole Palm/WinCE thing. I wouldn't bet against MS on the SmartPhone; that's why it's one of the platforms we intend to support soon.
BottomFeeder in 7.2 is on the site for download. If you grabbed it yesterday, you may have noticed a problem viewing images - there was a change in the way mime entities were decoded by the VW http framework, and I had to adjust my usage of the API - grab the update with the update tool, and images will be working again.
Scoble notices that people are still angry over Blaster, and begs for indulgence, since they are working on the problem. Hmm. maybe if Outlook and Outlook Express hadn't shipped in default to script kiddie heaven mode, we wouldn't have this problem, now would we? I'm glad MS is thinking about these issues now - but I refuse to cut the complete bozos on the Outlook team any slack for the stupid security decisions they have been making for years now. What were they thinking??
Yes, all software ships with bugs and issues - Cincom Smalltalk is no exception (I have already reported a few bugs to engineering for 7.2, which is going to be shipping to customers tomorrow). However, the decision to ship Outlook and Outlook Express in bozo mode for years is a much bigger problem. The internet will be plagued by that mistake for years to come, since many users will never apply patches or toggle the settings to safe. I'm not normally in favor of class action suits, but in this case - I think it's the sort of thing that would wake MS, and the industry as a whole, up. Ask yourself whether hardware with similar problems wouldn't have generated lawsuits by now...
In the meantime, do the world a favor - next time a non-technical person asks you for advice on a new system, steer them to a Mac. Maybe that will get Microsoft's attention
If you take a look at the BottomFeeder downloads page - down under the dev builds - you'll see that there are some new platforms - Windows CE (4) on the ARM and x86 cpus. These builds (and the rest of the dev builds) are based on VisualWorks 7.2 (which will be formally released on November 20th). If you are a current BottomFeeder user and would like to try the dev build, you'll need to re-install (make sure to backup all the files in the btfSave directory first). The new build will read the same files; this is basically the 3.2 version ported to VW 7.2. If you do try this out, please email me with any problems
John Porcaro illustrates the value of corporate blogs - it's a way to get in past all the layers of support/marketing/sales people that normally talk to (and sometimes unintentionally impede) customers and prospects. Blogs - and the contact with real insiders they allow - form a hole in the firewall as it were.
The Register reports that SCO's forward looking reports admit the obvious - their anti-Linux stance is hurting their existing business, and is likely to hurt it more. Don't everyone feel sorry for them all at once now....
Diebold voting systems are getting some much deserved scrutiny. However, this looks more and more like a case of incompetent software development and poor corporate development practices, and less and less like some grand conspiracy. The big problem? Painting it as a conspiracy is likely to cause the very real problems to be ignored, as the conspiracy theorists will be painted as nuts.
Never attribute to conspiracy what can far more easily be attributed to stupidity or laziness
Mike Sanders says that businesses are clamoring for web based apps:
SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 ( INFOWORLD ) - Web applications rule the enterprise. That's the indisputable conclusion to be drawn from this year's InfoWorld Programming Survey. Despite directives from Microsoft Corp. and others that developers abandon server-based HTML applications for fat desktop clients, the ease of "zero deployment" through the browser continues to win the day.
Only a fool what count Microsoft out. But only a fool would ignore what businesses are proclaiming loudly from their desktops - we want more browser apps now
Did anyone stop and ask what the users of those apps might want? All I have is anecdotal evidence, but it comes up pretty heavily against browser based applications. In my experience, people don't really like them. Of course, they don't really like the supposedly "rich" client apps they get from their IS groups either. Either way, user information would be very useful here - there's clearly business value in thin client applications - the question should be whether or not there's user productivity
One of the things you have to deal with when building an HTTP aware application is proxy user settings. VW has a settings tool within the environment for setting and managing proxy settings - the trouble is, it's not necessarily set up for simple reuse within a free standing application. Fortunately, it's not terribly difficult to set up programmatically (building a simple UI to go with this code is left as an exercise for the reader). First off, you need to define a network user:
user := NetUser new. user fullName: 'First Last'. user username: 'username'. user password: 'password'. user savePassword: true.
Now that you have a user, you'll need to actually add that user to the system registry. If your application is single user, you can go ahead and make that user the default user. If it's not single user, you'll need a way to switch users, and just toggle which one is the default. Here's how to set a user up as the default user:
Net.Settings addIdentity: user. Net.Settings defaultIdentity: user.
Now you've got a user defined, and registered with the system. But what about setting the proxy server, and enabling proxy usage? Here's how you define a proxy server and hand it the appropriate user:
netSettings := Net.Settings. netSettings httpUseProxy: true. netSettings httpKeepAlive: true. netSettings httpRedirectRequest: true. netSettings httpProxyHost: (HostSpec new name: serverNameString; port: port asNumber; type: 'http'; netUser: user; yourself).
That will set your application up to use a proxy server, with the appropriate user. To disable proxy usage without getting rid of the settings, all you need to do is toggle the httpUseProxy setting. That's pretty much it; it's not hard to do. This code is what BottomFeeder uses to set up proxy services.
Matt Croydon points to two Java GUI designer projects - Sun's and a new Eclipse effort. And after only 8 years too....
Don't have an RSS feed, and don't know how to create one? Let Feedster do it for you. very cool.
I'll be posting a 7.2 based BottomFeeder soon. The only real change so far is componentization - I've split a number of the non-Bf specific components out of the BottomFeeder parcel, so that they can be independently updated. The version information available in the "about" box is also going to be a little cleaner.
This will all be done in a new directory structure - moving will require a new base image - and the new parcel structure isn't completely compatible with what's deployed right now. When I get it all on the server, I'll post an update
Linux Today is cheering a story on Brazil's CTO wanting to get the entire nation using Open Source software. The correct question is, why should he care? Let people decide what works best for them. Having schools and Universities move that way makes a lot of sense, but trying to push harder than that is likely to backfire.
The Fall Release of Cincom Smalltalk will start shipping to customers on November 20th. That's also the date when NC downloads will cut over to VW 7.2 and OS 6.9. This is a great release, and I want to congratulate the entire Cincom Smalltalk team for making it happen. Great work! On to the next release cycle, after our post release planning meetings. Since there's a bit of a development lull between now and the end of our planning meeting (i.e., stuff that is mostly on auto-pilot right now) - now would be a good time to send suggestions and comments to us.
Mark Pilgrim lays out what the future of spam fighting in web logs will look like. Over time, comments are likely going to require registration and passwords, or simply be discarded - commenting will happen on other people's blogs. Yeah, that's going to cut out the people without blogs - go blame the spammers.
Ted Neward talks about a new C# feature - being able to partially define a class in a new file. Yet another thing people are all excited about as new, simply because they haven't spent any time looking at Smalltalk (or Lisp)....
Joi Ito links to a post by Dan Gillmore on censorware. Apparently, many of the "nanny" programs you can buy for filtering web content will filter blogs out - Surf Control, for instance, categorizes them the same as Usenet, and blocks them. Jon Udell reports on a bizarre conversation with one of the Surf Control folks. Entropy increases...
Matt Haughey is getting tired of comment spam in blogs - I just pointed out another uprising today. This is one of the better reasons to use homebrew blogging software; the liklihood of getting spammed is that much lower. The non-technically inclined will likely just have to do without comment systems...
Richard Monson-Haefel writes about a nasty, barely noticed issue on Amazon - reviews posted by authors and/or friends of authors using famous names. The people who do such things should be ashamed.
I've not had any comment spam here yet, but a number of the blogs I read have been slammed hard. I noticed this morning that Sam Ruby's blog was slammed - there was spam for all his recent posts. It looks like the spammers are targeting Moveable Type systems and the API it uses for comment forms. I'm not using that, so I think I'm getting saved by obscurity for the moment. The good news - at least with a news aggregator, I can just unsubscribe from a comment feed if it looks like it's being overrun.
I've been mailed links to this news - Farscape is going to get a mini-series:
The Henson company would not comment on the information but a source close to the production has confirmed that the new project will be a miniseries, not a new season as originally hoped for by the fans. While no plot details are available, sources have also confirmed that the new project will be independent from the Sci-Fi Channel, the network that broadcast the series. No information is currently available about just where the new miniseries will be appearing or when.
hmm - maybe if the Sci-Fi channel isn't involved, it won't suck...
The problem with almost all of the commenters is that they are looking at what is instead of what could be. Think of the vapor Longhorn as an example. Really, the only reason to say Longhorn is because so few people would know what I was talking about if I said Lisp Machine, or Xerox Dorado. Now Longhorn's no Dorado or Lispm, but its moving in that general direction, which is more than you can say for anybody else.
You can get that now, in any of the Smalltalk systems out there, and - although I don't have any personal experience with them - I'd warrant that you can get it in any of the existing Lisp development environments as well. It's a sad thing that so many people seem to know that they could be more productive, and then just blithely turn away from it and stick with what's popular.
John Dvorak just gave a big, huge raspberry to The Cluetrain Manifesto. Now, a lot of what he writes is guilty of the same kind of "you don't get it" smugness that he accuses the blogosphere of - a good for instance:
In fact the brown-nosing that goes on between bloggers singing each others' praises makes the worst office kiss-ups look tame by comparison. I mention this anomaly since these Cluetrain folks all believe the opposite to be true. Somehow networking like this, according to the Cluetrainees, reveals truth"when in fact it supports and forces the worst kind of conformist behavior. Try to find a blog that is ever critical of another blog. I've never seen it.
Apparently, he's not actually reading blogs - a goodly proportion of what I see in my reading is people knocking down the assertions of other people. In a sense, blogs are an escape from Usenet, now that the trolls have overrun the commons.
Now, that's not to say that Dvorak doesn't make some good points here - I've had much the same reaction to a large part of Cluetrain. In any case, it's always a good idea to see sacred cows get peed on - if nothing else, it forces some actual thought on the topic.
I was out all day chaperoning a 5th grade field trip to Baltimore. We went up to see the various historic ships docked there - the Constellation, the Torsk, the Taney - as well as some educational ships run by a local foudation. The kids had a great time - the foundation ships ran a great set of activities for them. It was way to blustery and cold to be without a hat - fortunately for me, one of the other parents was kind enough to loan me an extra he had - a real life saver! The trip itself was fine, after I got the hat. The ride home by bus (about 40 minutes) with a bus full of worked up 10 and 11 year olds though - whoa, that was tiring....
This piece is angry - but at the same time, it makes some excellent points about things to consider when outsourcing.
CNET News reports that Exchange servers that were infected with Code Red - even if cleaned - might still be open for spammers:
"If the guest account is enabled (on Exchange 5.5 and 2000), even if your login fails, you can send mail, because the guest account is there as a catchall," he said. "Even if you think you've done everything (to secure the server), you are still open to spammers."
The guest account is a way for administrators to let visitors use a mail server anonymously, but because of security issues, the feature is generally not enabled. Exchange servers that had been infected by the Code Red worm and subsequently cleaned will still have the guest account enabled, Greenspan said.
So you might not be done with this one after all...
Scoble just doesn't get out enough:
By the way, average users don't think RSS is the Web. Just cause Instant Messaging uses TCP/IP protocols, does that make it Web technologies? No. Most users see the Web as everything that comes to their browser.
I have a news flash for you - I'd guess that 90% + of the people using RSS not only know it's the web, but have a fairly decent grasp (from a technical standpoint) as to what RSS is. Heck, RSS simply hasn't gotten that widely exposed yet. Most developers I talk to have no idea what RSS is, and think a news aggregator is a tool for following usenet. Expand outside the tech arena, and RSS knowledge is virtually non-existant. I ask a fairly wide spectrum of people about RSS - most have no idea, some have maybe seen the little XML tag, and most of the ones who have seen it have no idea what it's for. Right now, RSS is in early adopter mode.
Then sign up for myLastEmail.com - a service that will send out pre-set emails after you die. Morbid....
- Longhorn won't ship until 2006
- Everything I've seen so far is very client-centric
Pay attention to that last part especially. While MS may be moving a lot of things to managed code, they aren't rewriting things like SQL Server and IIS. So anyone wanting to run a secure server is still likely to look at Apache and a non-Windows platform before they look at Windows. The game isn't on the client; that war is over, and MS won it a long time ago (quick, someone tell Sun). I'm utterly uncomvinced that the new stuff MS is doing will have a lot of server impact
Simberon will be running two VisualWorks open courses in Ottawa in early 2004:
An Introduction to VisualWorks (Jan 26 - 30, 2004)
Introduces the Smalltalk programming language and the basics of GUI programming in VisualWorks
Internet Programming in VisualWorks (Feb 2-6, 2004)
Covers low-level and high-level aspects of Internet programming in VisualWorks including TCP/IP and sockets, Smalltalk Server Pages, SOAP
For full descriptions and registration information please visit http://www.simberon.com/Services/training.htm
Cincom finally bought me a new notebook. It's a pleasant update from the old one - not as fast as I'd like, but much, much better. Now, if only I'd gotten a DVD drive....
InfoWorld reports that Cape Clear is now pushing press releases via RSS. That's a great idea - it would make it so much easier to track news on firms you want to track.
Unless airline clubs come to grips with WiFi (or even wired broadband), they are going to start losing customers in droves. Why? Well, here I am in Pittsburgh, at the airport food court - enjoying a WiFi connection. I've updated my blog, I'm grabbing feed updates, checking mail. Convenient access to the net is most of the reason I joined an airline club, and now there's better access at a growing number of airports. So why exactly would I want to join a club now, with free WiFi available in the general area?
Linux Today reports that SCO is serving subpoenas on everything that moves near a Linux box. What's next, a team-up with the RIAA so that 12 year olds standing near Linux boxes can get served?
Scoble implicitly makes a useful point to bear in mind when developing a product and/or solution - what is "good enough"
Here's a question for you. Go over to Tim Bray's site where he displays browser share. His readers are all geeks. My mom would never read his site. Now, ask yourself "if geeks won't upgrade to the latest standards-based browsers, why should mom?"
Why bother is the correct answer. If you use Windows, then IE qualifies as "good enough" for the vast majority of users. Why bother changing - there's no compelling reason to. Devlopers really, really need to keep that in mind, because technical merit doesn't tnd to count for much in the face of an 80% solution
I'm headed back home, with the new notebook - which I'll need to get et up, configured, and loaded with my software. In the meantime, there are a lot of things stacked up that I intend to post on; I'll likely do that on the plane. I may have loads of time in Pittsburgh; the wind on the east coast may screw up my travel plans...
...how the rise of the digital video recorder, in perfectly dialectical fashion, has resulted in people feeling both more in control of their television and watching and simulataneously buried underneath a backlog of television shows that they feel a frantic, desperate need to catch up on.
Oh yeah. We have 2 ReplayTV units, and the backlog of things worth watching can get to be enormous - much like the email backlog after being disconnected for awhile.
CNET news reports that the US patent office is going to take another look at the Eolas patent.
Oh, you mean that prior art.....
Ted Neward enters territory advocated by Topmind, noted Usenet troll:
Basically, I want the object-relational impedance mismatch to go away, just like everybody else does. But instead of continuing to try to force objects on top of the relational model, how about we give up going in that direction, and instead try lacing relational semantics into our favorite languages of choice? In fact, since we're also staring object-hierarchical impedance mismatch in the face, let's not stop there, let's also fold hierarchical concepts into the language as well, much akin to Brian's proposal of a few months ago.
I'm not sure what Java or Smalltalk (or any OO language, for that matter) would look like if it went that way. His proposed cod snippet tells me that it wouldn't be pretty....