If you have downloaded and installed VW 7.2 NC, you may have seen a problem with missing source. The sources aren't missing - the problem is that the system isn't finding them. Normally, when you run the installer, the VISUALWORKS home variable is properly set. The problem is, the driver file for the installer (a file called install.map) has a bug in it - and the variable isn't being set. To solve the problem, go to File -- Set VisualWorks Home. Set it to the top of the VisualWorks install directory, and all should be well.
I've talked about Test First Development a number of times, but the dirty little secret is that I haven't really been practicing what I've preached. I spent many years as a pre-sales consultant, and the normal pattern of development (if you can call it that) for an SE is "hack until it works". Well, over the weekend I was looking at the posting tool for the blog - now that there's a decent sized blog community here, the logic used to transform wiki style markup to html was just too much a hack for me to stand. So I sat down to redo it - and decided to actually write some tests.
In with the epiphany. What I've usually done is create ad-hoc workspace tests, and just gone with that. The problem is, those tests don't really work that well - there's no history, and you don't tend to retest old behavior as you add new behavior - so you miss bugs that creep in. This weekend, as I wrote my markup code, I created tests, and then wrote the markup code to push out what the tests expected. I had to change my approach a few times as I went through different forms of markup, and the tests showed me where I had broken things. Yeah, all of that is obvious - but it's not something I had been doing.
Now, I'm a believer :)
The report on last summer's power outage has some interesting pieces in it:
The report labels Cause 1 as "Inadequate Situational Awareness," and Cause 3 as "Failure of the interconnected grid's reliability organizations to provide effective diagnostic support." The crucial event under the Cause 1 heading was the failure of an alarm system: "...[A]larm and logging software failed sometime shortly after 14:14 EDT... operators were working under a significant handicap without these tools. However, they were in further jeopardy because they did not know that they were operating without alarms..."
Cause (2) was a failure to properly trim tree branches near powerlines. The amazing thing is how they got a system with no alarms. Did no one ever test the system to make sure alarms were raised? Kind of makes me wonder how many other untested alarm systems have been deployed into mission critical systems....
iunknown has an interesting point on cycle costs with respect to modern processor architectures:
Remember your college introduction to data structures and algorithms course? Remember how you spent some time calculating the complexity cost of various algorithms based on big-O notation? There was one very important assumption that was made whenever you made those calculations: that the cost of accessing any address in memory was constant.
With today's multi-tiered CPU cache architectures, it has become increasingly obvious (to those who care) that that assumption is no longer valid. A full cache miss on a modern 3GHz+ P4 will mean that you will waste ~1000 operations while waiting for the data to show up at the CPU.
I don't have anything like the background to really comment on this, but it looks like the sort of thing that would wax a lot of venerable assumptions
Ed Foste doesn't like the new "anti-spam" laws any better than I do. My gripe had to do with the worthlessness of the effort; his have to do with the failings of the law itself. It sounds like this is just a bad, bad law all the way around.
Arcterex goes into many of the annoyances and security issues of HTML email (all of which I agree with). What stood out for me was the response he got to his desire to use plain text email from Scoble that amounts to "Why would you want to do that?".
This brings to mind my from a few days ago about fixing the simple stuff. I think I've come to a conclusion about the problem at MS on this - it's yet another engineering outfit where the perfect is the enemy of the good enough. Enable the firewall we ship? No, we should fix all the outstanding security issues in the next release instead! It's classic engineer's disease, and MS needs some Product Managers to step up and slap the developers silly.
I've now watched the extended Two Towers DVD a few times - after I wrote this. This came to mind while reading this review from Arcterex. Yes, I still think it's an improvement over the teatrical release - but I've decided that I like the way Sam's "The Things that Really Matter" speech went in the teatrical better. The flow just somehow seems better. I'm not sure I can put my finger on it, and - overall - I like the extended DVD better.
Arcterex has a mini-rant about bankers hours (thank goodness for ATM's, btw!). He's angry about the branch he needed to get to not being open on a weekend - the part that dropped my jaw was about the loan itself - the only records on it were at the particular branch he got the loan at? Quick, someone sell that bank business integration software!
Dave Buck has found that .NET is just like Java in the way exceptions are handled - i.e., the are not proceedable, as your context is gone by the time you get to the handler. I have no idea how I'd have done parts of BottomFeeder under those restrictions - many network errors are handled by simply resuming the update loop with no updates from the offending feed. The Smalltalk process hosting the update loop is not terminated in that case, and things just roll along. I've got to figure that handling such errors in .NET or Java is a whole lot more painful...
If you've been trying to download Cincom Smalltalk Non-Commercial this weekend, you'll have noticed that the FTP service is offline. After the planned outage, the service didn't come back up correctly - and I'm having trouble reaching the administrator. In the meantime, use Http....
As you can see, we are back online. The power system for the building has been updated, so we should have a more reliable system from here on out
Vincent Brabant writes on Sun's marketing strategy (or lack thereof):
Look at J2EE servers:
- Before, you had iPlanet AppSrv 6
- then you had Sun One Application Server 7
- now, you have Java System Application Server 7/8.
Look at Java IDE:
- Before you had Forte For Java
- Then you had Sun One Studio
- Now, you have Sun Java Studio
I've seen this kind of rapidly changing strategy/product naming thing before - at ParcPlace and ObjectShare. We had a new slogan and a new "strategy" every 6 months between 1995 and 1999 - mostly to try to cover up the lack of a coherent vision on the part of senior management. It didn't serve us very well - we lost business rapidly during those years, as customers lost faith in us - and it took a lot of effort on the part of Cincom to convince people that we were going to support and improve Smalltalk. Sun is entering that same twilight zone now
The Wayback machine at work: Derek Balling talks about his work stuff moving to Wappingers Falls, NY - which means to the old IBM buildings there. I went to high school surrounded by those buildings.
Everyone has commented on John Dvorak's latest anti-blog screed - for instance, Joi Ito mentions it ere. Lost in all the fun making is the fact that Dvorak did spot one notable development in his piece - the emergence of media/corporate blogging:
So now we have the emergence of the professional blogger working for large media conglomerates and spewing the same measured news and opinions we've always had"except for fake edginess, which suggests some sort of independent, counterculture, free-thinking observers. But who signs the checks? The faux blog will replace the old personality columns that were once the rage in newspaperdom. Can you spell retro? These are not the hard-hitting independent voices we were promised. They are just a new breed of columnist with a gimmick and a stern corporate editor.
Now, I think Dvorak misses a lot - for instance, one of MSNBC's bloggers is none other than Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame. Big media is going to try and adopt anything that's popular, including blogs. The fact that they do doesn't spell the end of anything. Unlike TV, it's pretty easy (via the wonder of hyperlinks) to visit related content, regardless of author.
Congress is ready to pass anti-spam legislation. Apparently, they haven't noticed that there are internet hosts outside the boundaries of the US, and that those hosts won't pay any attention to this law. What's next - outlawing bad weather on holidays?
Scoble doesn't get it. Scoble ponders the public's attitudes on the corporation:
Build better products. That's a tougher one cause building products takes a long time and the time between customer's problems and the day when they get fixed is an extremely long time. For instance, what happens now when an application crashes? It asks you if you'd like to report the problem to Microsoft. There are teams who are trying to learn from that data and fix the problems. Due to data we've learned from those we're rebuilding the driver architecture, for instance. That's a major freaking deal. But, you won't see the results for several more years. So, it's going to take something like six to eight years from the beginning of collecting that data until the day when you really see huge changes in our products. That's too long. It makes everyone think we're not really listening.
Here's a cluestick - you could have fixed a whole ton of this very easily:
- You could have shipped XP with the Firewall enabled instead of turned off. Do you have any idea how many people have been hosed off as a result?
- You could have shipped Outlook and Outlook Express with all the scripting defaults turned off years ago. People are still being hosed off because of this
- You could have shipped one of the XP service packs (or heck, even the original) with the various dangerous ports closed. Instead, you shipped with them open
How frelling hard is it to figure out why you aren't trusted? Those aren't fixes that would take years - those are fixes that most corporate customers apply in the pre-installs they do. People are torqued because you don't fix the simple stuff. instead, you blather on (and on and on) about how nifty Longhorn will be. How about you fix the truly stupid security issues with the next fix you ship? Then maybe, just maybe, the public will have a smidgeon more respect for you.
The Cincom servers will be offline tomorrow as the IS group works on upgrading the building power system. This server is gloing down around 6 AM, and likely won't be back up until sometime between 4 pm and 6pm - FYI
Blogs aren't just for geeks anymore. InfoWorld reports that interest in blogs for the Enterprise is up:
Weblogs are being pulled into the enterprise because e-mail as a collaboration tool is dying, said Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext. "We are trying to take that same activity and move it from e-mail - a private space - to a public space that is designed for many-to-many interactions," he said.
Scoble thinks Dave Winer should buy a Tablet. What Scoble still doesn't get is that typing is way, way more productive than writing. Sure, being able to scribble on a screen and save a picture would be of some value. But, IMHO, it counts as a nice to have, not a reason to buy. Tablets will take off when they are standard, and you don't have to pay extra for them. Until then, niche product
Announcing Cincom Smalltalk 2003, November Edition!
It is our pleasure to bring you Cincom Smalltalk 2003, November Edition - our highest-quality release ever.
Cincom Smalltalk 2003, November Edition is the latest update for our Cincom Smalltalk customers and includes updates to both ObjectStudio and VisualWorks. The updated products within Cincom Smalltalk are ObjectStudio Enterprise Edition v6.9 and VisualWorks Enterprise Edition v7.2.
Cincom Smalltalk Support Policy - Details Here
Cincom Smalltalk Non-Commercial Registration - Download the products free for non-commercial use here
What's New With ObjectStudio The following enhancements and changes are included in the ObjectStudio v6.9 release:
- Many bug fixes and enhancements to the OLE support. Using COM, either for client or server purposes, is much enhanced with this release
- Addition of Opentalk for ObjectStudio. Opentalk is the communications package used in VisualWorks for the various distribution protocols (SOAP, etc). We have ported the base framework to ObjectStudio, which allows Smalltalk to Smalltalk communication between the two products. ObjectStudio users who want to add support for things like Web Services can now implement that functionality in VisualWorks, and access all of their ObjectStudio business objects
- Database enhancements:
- The Oracle OCI wrapper is now officially supported and present in the loadable application list. This wrapper works with Oracle 8.1.5 and later.
- Sybase 12.5 support.
- Generic SQL Server wrapper which works for all SQL Server versions.
- Windows Authentication support to SQL Server wrapper. If you log on to a SQL Server database without providing a user name and a password, the SQL Server database wrapper automatically uses Windows Authentication.If you log on with a user name and a password, the SQL Server databasewrapper uses SQL Server authentication.
Numerous bugs were also addressed. Please see the release notes for details.
What's New With VisualWorks
Cincom has released VisualWorks 7.2 as part of the Cincom Smalltalk product suite. There are a number of new features in the release, as well as continued work on existing components (Web Toolkit, Net Clients, Opentalk). Cincom has worked with SilverMark and JOOPS to deliver evaluation versions of TestMentor and SmallCOM/X in this release. TestMentor is a full testing solution for VisualWorks. SmallCOM/X enables the embedding of ActiveX components into VisualWorks GUI Windows. The demonstration shipped shows how to embed the IE HTML control into a VW Window.
VisualWorks supports Windows (ME, NT4 (Server only), 2000, XP, Windows 2003), Macintosh (OS 9 and OS/X), Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, SGI IRIX, and Intel Linux. These are unsupported, but we are putting these out in order to examine interest. There are unsupported, experimental releases for Linux on SPARC and Linux on PPC. There are preview releases of Windows CE (4) on x86 and ARM. Cincom ended support for the Compaq Tru64 UNIX platform and the HPUX 10.2 platform with the release of VisualWorks 7.1.
For any questions about this or about Cincom Smalltalk, please contact James Robertson, firstname.lastname@example.org, the Product Manager. Of particular interest will be our support for Web Services and Web Development.
VW 7.2 is an incremental release from 7.1 " we are working on a large number of improvements (Pollock, native widgets) that will result in a major new release . That major release will come in 18-24 months. New in this release are a number of items in review (beta):
- Support for Windows CE (4) on the x86 and StrongARM processors. There are VM's and loadable parcels in preview. We intend to support a wider array of CE devices as time goes by
- Better Unicode display (and entry) support for Windows. After loading the Preview support, Windows users will see fewer font rendering issues. We are still working on this, including an investigation of cross platform support
- .NET Connect " there is new support for linking to the .NET platform. This support involves working at a similar level to DLLCC at present; tools and documentation for this will improve
- Implementation of loadable primitive modules into the VM. This allows for the breaking up of the VM into loadable components " which means that individual subsystems can be replaced dynamically. Again, this is early support " more details will be coming in the next release
This generation of Smalltalk also stands as the best way to interoperate with the existing and competing standards of .NET and J2EE. These competing systems are not easy to integrate; the competing vendors would rather fight. VisualWorks stands as a bridge between them. With CORBA support for J2EE, Web Services support for .NET, and COM support for legacy applications, VisualWorks is uniquely suited as an integration platform. The web toolkit takes advantage of and leverages the expertise of web developers and designers who do not know Smalltalk. The web pages that are powered by the web toolkit can be built by people who do not know Smalltalk, but do know and understand web technologies.
Web Services offers a clean way to interoperate transparently with remote services, or to transparently make Smalltalk services available to others.
For the latest details, please visit http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/CincomSmalltalkWiki/NEWS
The Web Toolkit takes advantage of and leverages the expertise of web developers and designers who do not know Smalltalk. The web pages that are powered by the Web Toolkit can be built by people who do not know Smalltalk, but do know and understand web technologies.
Smalltalk Server Page Support
Cincom added major functionality to VisualWave in order to support ASP and JSP-style Smalltalk Server pages, as well as Smalltalk Servlets and Custom Tags in 5i.4. With the 7.1 release, we have enhanced the server management facilities and server-side performance. We support all the major web server interfaces including Apache's FastCGI and IIS ISAPI, and are shipping a Perl-based CGI gateway as well.
- Better Searching - Searching for classes in the system or packages/bundles in Store are now front ended with a filtering (as you type) interface. This makes it dramatically easier to find things in the system
- Professional Debug Package. The PDP is the leading debugging tool for VisualWorks, and has been fully integrated into VisualWorks with this release. The PDP supports breakpoints and watchpoints, and is now the basic debugger for VisualWorks.
- .NET Connect - With this release, we are bundling a connection to the .NET (Microsoft) platform. This allows direct interaction between .NET applications and services and VisualWorks objects. This support will be in preview for this release, but will be fully supported in 7.3
- Internet Connectivity Framework - VisualWorks now has an extensive library of internet connectivity tools. This support has been growing since VW 5i.3. We now support FTP, HTTP and HTTPS, SMTP, IMAP and POP3 (including MIME encoded attachments), and XML, XSL, Xschema, and Xpath. With this release, we support SOAP headers as well
- Security - We now support ARC4, RSA, DES, and DSA. We have cleaned up a number of the Security API's, and moved the security related classes to their own namespace (Security). We now support SHA-256 " see the release notes for further details
- StORE - StORE is the version control system of choice for VisualWorks. We have improved it in many ways since the 7.0 release.
- Cleaner, clearer support for multiple repositories
- Improved searching for packages/bundles
- A tool interface for defining and changing package/bundle properties, including prerequisites
- Much improved database access speed
- Enhanced usability when extending/overriding classes from other packages
- Ability to manipulate bundles within the repository without loading them
- Increased usability and robustness
- Distributed Smalltalk - Cincom has updated Distributed Smalltalk to allow for clean interoperation with the latest IONA and Visigenic Orb products.
- Opentalk - Opentalk is the new distribution framework that allows rapid implementation of distributed protocols such as SOAP. Opentalk is the basis of UDDI and SOAP implementations. In this release, we have re-hosted the VisualWave and WebToolkit server frameworks on top of Opentalk. The previous server framework is still present in this release, but will be deprecated in the next one
- Object Engine/Virtual Machine - Loadable primitives allow for creating more easily customizable Smalltalk systems, and for the easier interfacing of VisualWorks with external systems
Unparalleled productivity, the best tools for supporting emergent methodologies like XP, and worldwide support from Cincom " you simply can't go wrong by choosing Cincom Smalltalk.
The Cincom Smalltalk Team
Microsoft's Paul Vick disses VB developers:
One thing that is likely, however, is that VB.NET won't be using the term "refactoring" in the IDE to refer to these features. While that term is fairly common in some quarters, we believe there are lots of VB programmers who are likely to see a menu item called "Refactor" and just ignore it because they don't know what the term means. We'd like to surface the features more directly so that they don't get missed by our users. (If you disagree, feel free to give us a holler on that too!)
That's a great marketing strategy - in public, call one the largest body of developers on the planet morons. There's a great take off on this post here - you have to go look at the menu :)
If you downloaded a development build (the 7.2 one) of BottomFeeder recently - for a non-Windows platform - you got a broken build. I had loaded some beta code into the base image that is for Windows, and it was causing problems on non-Windows platforms. A new, fixed build is up. If you aren't having a problem, then you don't need to worry about this
You know how cellphones always seem to ring at the most inopportune moments? Well it can't get more inopportune than this:A Belgium newspaper, Gazet van Antwerpen is reporting that the family of a recently deceased motorcyclist are suing the funeral firm they chose, after the dead mans cell phone started ringing - from inside the coffin... The night before the funeral, the family gathered at the undertakers for a final private farewell, when they heard the sound of his cellphone ringing...
Turning from movies to TV, I was very pleased with last night's Angel episode. The season's story arc is now clear - we have a new enemy, and the gang has been misled as to who or what it is. Last night's episode saw Spike and Angel competing to prove which one of them is the prophesied champion. I won't post any spoilers on that, since I know that readers in Australia are behind the US episode wise - suffice to say that the season, which was looking a little muddled - seems to have taken a turn for the better
I ran right out and bought the Two Towers Extended DVD yesterday - and then proceeded to sit down and watch it. With the Fellowship DVD, I felt like a lot of the added material was not strictly necessary. I liked the extended DVD, but it didn't seem to me that it was a huge improvement over the theatrical release. With Two Towers, I do feel like that. There are new scenes with Pippin, Merry, and the Ents - and I think they add to the film. Interestingly, they have a scene that merges in a bit of the Bombadil material - old man Willow. While Pippin and Merry drink the Ent droughts (and get taller), there's a nearby Willow tree. When they get too close, it hauls them in, just as it happened in the old forest in the first book. In this case, Jackson has Treebeard rescue them. Not sure that adds a lot, but it was nice to see the Ent droughts.
There's also a few new scenes that show Eowyn's attachment to Aragorn - something the theatrical release hinted at, but really didn't do justice to. One of the nicest additions was a flashback for Faramir - in the scene where he's sitting alone, before he goes to question Frodo about the ring - there's a flashback to the retaking of Osgiliath. Boromir is the hero, and Denethor is shown denegrating Faramir - something the books went into, but was completely lost from the theatrical release.
I was very happy to see the Huorns march - When the Uruks flee Helm's Deep, they are destroyed by the Huorns sent by Treebeard. The theatrical release didn't even allude to that - the extended DVD shows the Huorns marching off, and shows the Uruks being destroyed - as the Rohirrim look on astonished. There's also a scene added between Gandalf and Aragorn where Gandalf explains that the Ents have woken up, and will play a role in the downfall of Saruman.
All in all, I really like the additional material. The only dark cloud I see is this news on the Saruman scenes being cut from the theatrical release of ROTK. on the one hand, as a huge fan of the books, I dislike this. On the other hand, I've wondered for quite awhile how the whole scouring of the Shire and Saruman's fall piece could be anything but an anti-climax in film terms. It'll be in the extended edition (another whole year of waiting!) - but I think I understand the decision. Maybe I'll have a different opinion after I see the third film; we'll see then.
If you take a look at the main Cincom website, you'll see an announcement at the top:
Please note, our websites will be down Saturday, 10AM-4PM EST for scheduled maintenance. If you need assistance during this time, please call 1-800-2CINCOM.
So an FYI - we'll be offline for those hours on Saturday.
The Fall 2003 Non-Commercial release of Cincom Smalltalk is ready for download. If you haven't registered before, register here. If you have registered, then just use the link that came in the email you were sent when you registered.
We are working on a network installer, and should have something to post fairly soon - within a week or less, I'm hoping. That will be a small download - on the order of 3-4 MB. Starting the downloaded application will run a version of the VisualWorks Installer that will look for components from the website instead of from an ISO or CD.
The Register reports that SCO is nothing if not ambitious - this year, they will be serving Linux customers (likely large shops that have been public about their usage). In particular, SCO mentioned that HP's indemnification of customers was going to get expensive. Now comes word that they plan to target BSD systems:
This week The SCO Group hinted that BSD distributions would be next under the Utah microscope. SCO carefully safeguards the intellectual property rights to UNIX
From the beginning, Sun intended Java to be primarily a loss leader for hardware. The more Java-enabled Web sites there were and the greater the number of programmers using Java for ecommerce software, the bigger the (perceived) need for Sun's high-end Web servers. The company made the decision not to sell Java by itself for fear of cutting into server sales.
For a while, this strategy worked fine. In the late '90s, Java helped sell untold Sparc servers - untold because Sun's not saying. But then Dell came along and cut Sun off at the knees with cheap servers running Linux software. IBM and BEA Systems, meanwhile, latched on to Java and sold it in the lucrative market for application server software, which helps link computers to backend databases over the Web. Today, those companies own a majority of the $3.9 billion annual business. "When Java hit, it was the greatest thing since canned beer," says John Rymer, a vice president at Giga Information Group. "Sun began with the upper hand, but it lacked a software strategy that was worth a damn."
With all the losses and job cuts, I wonder if the financial types at Sun have finally started asking hard questions about JavaSoft? Loss leaders are great - unless they aren't leading to anything. The fascinating thing to me is that Sun is starting to get the same rap that I had to fight back in the day at ParcPlace:
Will the new approach work? Hotels.com director of architecture Brad Schneider likes the pricing scheme for the Java Enterprise System, but his bosses are freaked out about buying from a company they think could go under any day now. "People talk about Sun like it might have the doors chained," he says.
I can tell you from experience that it's extremely difficult to sell once people start worrying about your future. The toughest part is, reality doesn't matter - it's all about perception.
File this under "be careful what you wish for" - Via Gordon Mohr
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.