In comments last week, there appeared to be some interest in how to recover lost code in Cincom Smalltalk - for instance, quitting an image without saving, forgetting to commit changes to the source code repository, a power outage, that kind of thing. So here it is - a quick walkthrough of recovering code with the change tool.
We are still looking into the problem - right now, VisualWorks does not always work on Ubuntu and Gentoo Linux distributions - and we think that it may be a configuration issue related to those particular distributions. When I get more details from our engineers, I'll pass them on.
I love this guy. His notions of software development are fascinating. He's pondering cross platform software today:
In the example above, we could compile to bytecode for example, but then we need a VM (and I don't want to get into 40 year old technology) and more importantly, it doesn't take advantage of vector processing if it is available.
Can you say "premature optimization"? Apparently, he can't. So we follow his train of thought and end up down here:
Anyone see a way out of this? If not, I'll just use some form of intermediate code.
Meaning, a VM or interpreter. I wonder if he'll come up with a really cool new name to keep that fact from himself...
I'm still planning to push a screencast out on the Change tools in Cincom Smalltalk, but I've got a sick kid and only one car, so I've got a few things to get to first. Stay tuned.
I see that Bell South wants to start charging content providers on a per service basis:
Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth, justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's network without paying for it.
"Higher usage for broadband services drives more costs that we have to recover," he said in a telephone interview.
Interestingly enough, the first company he mentioned was Apple, and their iTunes store. Wow, it's almost as if music companies called Smith up and asked him to carry water for them. And he thinks we should like the idea:
"It's the shipping business of the digital age," Smith said, arguing that consumers should welcome the pay-for-delivery concept.
Yeah, I just love the idea. I really want every single ISP in the chain marking my content up by a nickle as it passes by - I don't pay my ISP enough, so I should be happy to have my monthly bill jacked up in anticipation of how much content I'll be incrementally responsible for. I'm sure they won't guess on the high side.
It's one thing if ISP's want to offer better QOS for higher fees, or even for one off services - that wouldn't be any different than pay-per view, and I expect most people would be fine with that. Whether they can actually deliver that to the home is another matter entirely. What won't be fine is what I think they'll actually do - try to ding a micro-payment from every packet that flies by, and push monthly service charges up based on perceived future usage.
The funny thing is, I keep seeing people claim that the net is going to collapse tomorrow is something isn't done - Mark Cuban is the latest chicken little to see the packets falling. Odd how time goes by, and the internet keeps working, isn't it?
(via Dave Winer) Apple’s newly-released iPhoto 6 does an admirable job of making it easy for its users to publish feeds of their photos from their desktop. When Steve Jobs announced the product, he cited its use of “industry standard” RSS technology to make this posssible.
This all sounds great until you try to visit a photocasting feed in a browser other than Safari, or subscribe using a feed reader other than NetNewsWire. The site detects that you’re not using a photocast-capable client and displays an HTML page asking you to use Safari instead.
That's funny - I added that feed to BottomFeeder without any error messages. I added support for the Photo-Casting module a couple weeks ago as an update to the 4.1 release. Seems that Apple isn't turning away everyone else.
Update: What a shocker. Dave Winer gets it wrong too.
Update2: TechMemeorandum spreads the bad information around
Ok, this is amusing. First, I ran across PR Opinions trying to explain this post by Steve Rubel, where Rubel says, more or less: "I can't possibly read all the email I get asking for links. Link to something I read, and I'll see it". PR Opinions thought that smelled of attitude, and these guys are positively put out by the whole thing.
Hmm. I've been doing this since 2002 - so I'm no "johnny come lately" to the party, but I'm also not one of the real early adopters. I've never sent anyone an email asking them to link to something I've written. Oh sure, I've written plenty of posts where I purposely linked to someone in hopes that an "ego search" would turn my post up and get a link, but that's not really the same thing.
Now, I don't have nearly the traffic of some of the "A-Listers" - mine seems to vary between about 8000 and 15,000 pageviews a day (meaning, total grabs of the HTML page). It's actually pretty hard to gauge real readership now - I can see the HTML hits, and the requests for the RSS feed, sure. Then there's Artima, where my posts are mirrored (I registered for that back in 2002). Then there's BlogLines, NewsGator Online (etc, etc - there are tons of online services). All that said, I'm sure that I get fewer email requests for links that Rubel or Scoble do (I wouldn't call what I do get overwhelming by any stretch).
No, I built my traffic up the hard way - I just keep at it, hoping that my rants will be of interest to someone :) Now, I do get a lot of email in general, and I subscribe to tons of content - so I understand the general "overwhelmed" complaint. What I don't really understand is why other people can't. If you're a well known PR guy, and it's known that lots of people read you - then it seems clear to me that you would get pitched a lot. At some point, that's going to be overwhelming - call in radio shows have screeners for a reason.
Cincom Smalltalk Announces 88% Revenue Growth
Simplification Through Innovation: Key to Growth
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- January 16, 2006 -- The Cincom Smalltalk division of Cincom Systems, Inc. announced today an 88% revenue increase from 2001 to 2005.
Simplification Through Innovation … Key to
Businesses dealing with highly complex systems and high rates of change have increasingly discovered that Cincom Smalltalk-developed applications allow them to simplify and innovate(PDF), giving them a competitive edge that can be key to survival.
50% Less Developers – ROI Twice as Fast
Cincom Smalltalk delivers applications and significant ROI twice as fast with half the number of developers.
“Advanced technology, excellent support, a superior product bundled with a knowledgeable sales team, and experienced and passionate partners continue to fuel Cincom Smalltalk revenue advancements,” said Suzanne Fortman, Marketing Manager, Cincom Smalltalk.
About Cincom Smalltalk
Cincom Smalltalk enables software developers to build applications quickly and efficiently, including scalable browser-based and client-server systems. Cincom Smalltalk delivers significant productivity over Java, C#, C++, or Visual Basic, allowing developers to bring their products to market significantly faster. For more information, please visit the Cincom Smalltalk Website.
For nearly 40 years, Cincom's software and services have helped thousands of clients worldwide simplify the management of complex business processes. Cincom specializes in the five areas of business where simplification brings the greatest value to managers who want to grow revenue, control costs, minimize risk, and achieve rapid ROI better than their competitors.
Cincom serves clients on six continents including BMW, Citibank, Boeing, Northwestern Mutual, Federal Express, Ericsson, Penn State University, Milacron, Siemens, Rockwell Automation, and Trane.
|Cincom Systems, Inc.||Cincom Systems, Inc.|
|Marketing Manager||Smalltalk Product Manager|
|Suzanne Fortman||James Robertson|
Ajax is the most overhyped thing at the moment. My predictions for it are, therefore, dire. I will bet it will go the way of XML - simple and interesting at first, then the “Enterprise” folk run away with it and within 2 years we have W3C AJAX standards that span 1000 pages. Wanna bet?
I'm not taking that bet. Recall that SOAP started out as a way to extend XML-RPC...
We've been trying a new game - Caylus. It's an interesting boardgame, where you have to build up a town and castle, gathering the most victory points while you do it. It's a cooperative and competitive game - you compete by building up things that other people will want/need to use.
We've tried three times now - the first game, we were just learning, and it got too late. The second time, the wives were busy paying attention to a friend's baby (and with a boardgame set up - heresy!). Last night, we played a game of Puerto Rico first, and it just got too late.
It's a cool game - I just want to see a game go all the way to the end sometime :)
StS 2006 is getting closer - I just received speaker instructions today. Looks like I have to get my slides ready well ahead of time, so that they can have handouts ready. Check back with the Linux World/Network World site for registration information.
I don't have anything against the so-called "MSM" (Mainstream Media) - I just don't think that they should be accorded any more respect than anyone else. Here's another example of why I say that: a Honolulu based reporter has allegedly been plagiarizing from Wikipedia.
Now, plenty of authors have been discovered plagiarizing - as well as students and politicians. The sole point I'm trying to make here is that the press is not some higher level collection of experts. Like the rest of us, they have biases, foibles, and blindspots. It would be nice if their editors and fact checkers cleaned up more of that, but they suffer all the same problems.
Wow, what a shocker - one of the trolls who's ethics were low enough to let him work for the RIAA doesn't like Google book search either. Next, you'll tell me that night follows day. Here's his argument:
In Google's case, they are clearly scanning in the original copyrighted pages of these books, no doubt using fairly high resolution digital photography, and then it seems they are using some sort of optical character recognition to transform the printed text on the page into a digital text on the computer. On Google's computer. I have no idea if Google is OCRing and then running an indexer on the resulting body of text and then tossing the body of text and keeping the index. I bet they're not. I bet they're keeping the whole enchilada. I mean, look at what Google's doing. Or must be doing: how would Google know where the words "Pioneer Life" appear in a bitmap image of the scanned book, unless they had scanned the book's entirety, kept all the bitmap images, and recorded where the printed words in the image match up to the text words in the digitized OCR'd body of text? That's got to be some pretty fancy technology to do that.
I love the way he says "fancy technology, as if that's enough to indict them right there. His point is that this technology doesn't make a lower quality copy, it makes a good one - and that the quality of the reproduction violates fair use. Never mind that they aren't:
- Listing entire books online
- Selling access to books online
What they are doing is improving search, making it more likely that I'll find a reference to a work that I didn't know existed - and that I could then go and *gasp* buy that book.
Which is where I think the real issue is for publishers - it's the same one that music publishers have with iTunes. They are being disintermediated, and they don't like it. They want to tell me which works exist on a given topic - under no circumstances do they want me finding that information out myself. Heck, if I do, I might find an older work, or a self published work - or anything that isn't going for the high margin they want to push. This has nothing to do with protecting the rights of authors, any more than the RIAA is out to protect the rights of artists. Quite the contrary - it's about protecting the rights of the established middlemen who enjoy skimming their percentage of the price.
Throughout history, new technology has supplanted older technology, and the incumbents have never been happy about it. The publishers and the RIAA are like the Luddites of old, but with bigger lawyers.
There was a point, just before VCR's were introduced, when home media was simple. Less feature filled than today by a lot, but simple. What I mean by that is that you would get your components, a bunch of RCA audio cables (red and white), and just plug everything in. It was pretty easy to do, and the same cables worked everywhere.
Then cable TV and the VCR arrived, and things got a little more complicated. Suddenly you had the split the cable signal and feed it through the VCR. Still not too bad, but a little harder, especially if you decided to hook your speakers through it.
Now, we've arrived at the huge ball of complexity that Russell Beattie sketched out on his site. Click over there and look at the picture - it's more than most people have in their homes, but not a lot more. In our family room, we have a ReplayTV, a Comcast cable box/DVR, and an older digital cable box just for the Replay (since it can't handle HD). There are 5 other A/V inputs in use on that TV, and most of it flows through the receiver.
The array of cabling needed to hook it all up is no longer the simple set of RCA cables - now there's component video, S-Video, coax, ethernet, and DVI. Probably other things I'm not remembering right now. It's enough to make your head swim; we have photographs of the setup taped to the back of the TV, so we can get it right without having to hand trace the cables.
Now, there's a new kicker to slap into the mix: DRM. That's the focus of James Governor's addition to this topic. It's bad enough that the equipment is hard to set up optimally - it gets worse when you get to play a delightful game of "which piece of equipment will let me play this legally owned content I have here?". James has some thoughts on the subject, and they seem reasonable to me.
Blaine notes that progress is happening in other corners of the Smalltalk world - he's got good things to say about the Dolphin 6 release.
Blogbody goes through the main differences between Java and Ruby in terms of web development:
Patrick Peak had some thoughts on a Rails presentation at the Denver Java Users Group (why is there no Ruby User Group to talk about this?). Namely, he comes to the conclusion that the main benefit Ruby brings to the table over Java is that the development workflow is simply code, alt-tab, reload browser. In Java, it is typically code, compile, package, deploy, alt-tab, reload browser.
That leads him to a long riff about how Java makes ground back up with better development tools, but he runs across the place where Smalltalk is a big win, and Ruby could be with a better environment:
While IDEA is doing great, the specifications like J2EE are not keeping pace, and as such the vendors implementing those specs are not keeping up either. Tomcat and Resin, while fast, still take several seconds to start up. Until the JVM allows for full class replacement, quick startup times are critically important.
Let me run through the process in a Smalltalk environment - wait, I don't need to - you can watch it here. To summarize, it's code, reload browser. Notice how all those middle steps just disappear? No restarting the application server, no need to repackage everything - you just stay right in the zone. This server is an example of that methodology, actually - I test against my test server as Wilkes demonstrated, and then I push the code to the server - and just load it on the fly. That load may involve shape changes to existing classes, including ones that are persisted (i.e., the domain classes for the posts). No problem - it's Smalltalk, so it just works.
Dumb question - you are happily programming in the environment, and the lights go out. Have you lost your state? How do you save “source” code? I'm interested from the angle of irb, as I like ruby. I still think in the mode of writing the source in an editor, checking it in, etc. I can't seem to imagine this environment in terms of day to day work, esp with a development group.
The answer goes over the typical "save your files" response, and then gets to images:
Don't despair, there are better ways. Most CL implementations and several Schemes (MIT/GNU Scheme and, again, scheme48 come to mind) allow you to save your complete state, at any time, in what is called and image file . This image contains a binary snapshot of the interpreter's state, and you can reload it at any later time. Being a binary representation, it will come to life blazingly fast. Besides Lisp, Smalltalk is the paradigmatic (and possibly pioneer, but i'm not 100% sure on this) image-based language: for instance, in Squeak , the only way to launch the environment is loading a previously saved image, which contains detailed information of your previous state (including the graphical environment). In this sense (and many others), Smalltalk is a dynamic programmer's dream come true.
Images makes things even better, but not perfect: you still need to save your state every now and then. In an ideal world, persistence should be automatic, managed behind the scenes by the system, even by the operating system.
Well, in Smalltalk - certainly in VisualWorks and Squeak - even a power outage isn't going to end up losing you any work (unless your HD dies simultaneously, of course). As it happens, each change you make to your image is saved off in a transaction log called the change file. When you restart the image, you can load the change file into a tool, and replay all (or a set of specific) actions so as to restore your state.
So if you are working on a large set of changes, and *poof* - off go the lights - when power comes back, you can roll it all back in. I think I'll do a screencast on that next week - it's a very cool, but under-publicized, feature of Smalltalk.
I have heard numerous stories over the last few months about smaller, innovative startups having a hard time bringing on qualified engineers as Google and Yahoo are offering 3 year packages of a $1mm or more in salary, restricted stock, and signing bonus. I must admit, this is a pretty tough environment to compete against. In fact, as you look at the landscape, everything that Google and Yahoo is doing is about stockpiling talent. Let's not forget that all of those tiny acquisitions of small startups is about bringing on the best talent possible.
If that's really how it is, then picking the same set of tools and methodologies as everyone else is not going to give you a leg up. You need to grab some kind of advantage.
Recently, I've been reading a fascinating little book: "Spice: The History of a Temptation". It's not a history of the spice trade, or of the Western conquests in that part of the world; rather, it's a social history of spices in the West.
The book jumps around a lot, with the chapters split up by topic rather than by time. So we trace through the interest in spices for burial rites, for perfumes, and, of course, for food. There's a lot about the interesting duality of spices in religion - used for ceremonies, but also decried as sinful (not just a Christian worry, apparently - there's plenty of "down the nose" condescension from the Roman era).
It's a very interesting book, with lots of interesting snippets. One section that dealt with drinking habits in medieval Europe was interesting - spiced wines arose mostly as a way to make wine last longer, in the era before good sealing methods. Mulled wine - a modern holiday tradition (my wife makes a very nice one... mmm ) - has its origins in the attempts of nobles and merchants to make their wine palatable. One quote I really liked from that section was a description of the average wine as "the wine of astonishment".
All in all, it's a nice little read. Highly recommended.
Ok, which new book is this a one line review of:
"I'm going to find whoever told me that geekdom was a celibate profession and make them eat this book!"
Ken Arnold, coauthor of "The Java Programming Language"
If you give up, follow this link :)
Wilkes Joiner demonstrates how to do live debugging in Seaside:
I've created a short (3min) video showing how you can deal with a stack trace while developing a Seaside application. One thing to note is that most of this power and flexibility comes from the Smalltalk environment itself.
As Wilkes notes, this isn't a Seaside specific piece of power - you can do the same thing in any application, due to the power of the Smalltalk system. The server running this blog is typically updated by just filing in patch code rather than the more common (over in the mainstream software world) kill/load new code/restart paradigm.
Time for my weekly perusal of the logs. BottomFeeder downloads dipped to 290 per day last week - the details:
The distribution looks about the same as usual. On to the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
The volatility in the Mozilla/IE numbers over time is really strange. I have no idea what it means :). On to the RSS numbers:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||10.5%|
Still quite a large showing for the Mac tools there. Otherwise, still a very diverse set of tools being used.
It looks like the download page lists some confusing information - the references are all to the summer (VW 7.3.1 and OST 7.0.1) release. In fact, the latest release is available, we just didn't get those pages updated. I'm having the text changed over to be more generic - i.e., something like "Get the Latest Non-Commercial Release" instead of a version specific reference. In the meantime, just follow on through and get the latest.
A century and a half from now, there will be no-one who remembers first-hand what you were like. You will exist to your family (who will be large and many branched by then) as faint traces from the past, appearing only randomly in whatever mementoes sheer luck and institutional planning have created. While scientists continue to work on understanding probabilities of disease and predilections in our double helices, a simple name is the visible DNA that anyone can trace and interpret. A family name is the marker. The context in which it appears is the story it tells us.
Read the whole thing, and you'll get an appreciation for just how transient our appearance on the globe really is. The now seems really important to us, but it seemed equally so to our forebearers - and most of them left very hazy footprints. I have some second hand (via my mother) recollections of her father, and I remember both of my grandmothers - but beyond that - it's all mist.
First, there was the car. Then tonight we got home and found that the milk carton had been leaking into the meat and vegetable drawers. Oh boy - complete mess. On top of that, the upper shelf in our fridge has been half broken for quite some time, and it's only been the utterly inscrutable Sears website that's prevented me from buying a replacement part.
Well, taking the shelf out to clean it completed the break, so I guess I have to deal with that now. Then, to make matters more enjoyable, there was all the gunk that had built up in the fridge. You know - the stuff behind the shelves and under the drawers that you say you'll get to "someday"? Well, with the shelves and drawers out, that day was today. I don't even know what some of it was, which only makes it worse. Gah!
Last night, Michael and I were playing a network civ 4 game. He crushed me the time before, nuking most of my cities. This time, we were playing on an island board, and I got set up right next to two AI players. No more mister nice guy; I built an army and killed them. Just as I took the second one out, bam - crash.
Michael's crashed as well, so we went to the latest backup and started in - and boom, immediate crash. Clearly, the gods of Civ 4 were not going to be with me :/
Jon Fine has come up with a really stupid idea - he thinks that making content invisible will somehow make it more relevant:
What if 2006 is the year big media players take aim at Google's kneecaps? No, not with more lawsuits; the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers -- on behalf, in part, of BusinessWeek's parent company, The McGraw-Hill Companies -- and Agence France-Presse have already sued the search behemoth. Rather, picture this: Walt Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal, and The New York Times, in an odd tableau of unity, join together and say: "We are the founding members of the Content Consortium. Next month we launch our free, searchable Web site, which no outside search engines can access." (A simple bit of code is all it takes to bar all or some major search engines from accessing a site.) "From now on we'll make our stuff available and sell ads around it and the searches for it, but only on our terms. Who else wants to join us? Membership's free."
Yeah, that's worked so well for the Times. Hey Jon - noticed a distinct decline in links over to TimesSelect recently? How do you suppose that happened? You think that making their opinion pieces invisible might have had something to do with it?
Yes, I know that this proposal doesn't involve a pay-wall. It does something just as stupid though - server side directives to stop bots from Google (and Yahoo, and MSN, etc., etc.) from slurping up the links. That's every bit as stupid. I'm using Firefox, and what do you think is right up in the top right corner? Why, it's a Google search box. How do you think I typically search? What do you think MS will ship with the next rev of IE - same kind of thing, only the default will likely be an MSN search. Which is how most IE users will search as well.
Jeff Jarvis nailed this in his riposte:
Well, that would be hugely stupid. And though huge companies can be stupid, I don’t think they’d be that self-destructive. For the truth of life today — like it or not, lump it or not — is that Google is everyone’s front page. And, yes, that can make life difficult. Google kills brands; Google commodifies everything. But that’s not Google’s fault. That comes part-and-parcel with this new, distributed world where we control the entry to the content we want and where there is no longer a scarcity of content that lets a few big players control it and us. Wishing this weren’t so won’t make it not so.
So let me think - Fine thinks that a bunch of content companies should team up, gather their content, hide it from search engines, and then get people to visit. Exactly how would users find the content, since the plan would be to hide it from search engines? I've seen a lot of stupid plans before, but this one ranks up there with the *cough* plot *cough* of "Surface".
This came in from the ESUG mailing list:
We have a (research) position to fill that relates closely with a Smalltalk framework for synthesis and modeling for system-on-chips and reconfigurable circuits.
I see Sun's decided that they don't have enough problems - now they plan to offer an open source DRM solution. I think this quote from their lead on the project, Glenn Edens, says it all:
But Edens isn’t so pessimistic about DReaM. He maintains that while DRM isn’t perfectly secure, it can still work, as long as it doesn’t force users to circumvent it in order to use the product normally. “We’ve started a very fruitful dialog with the EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation]. We have been working on a white paper to describe a possible solution to the fair-use issues. The hard question is: ‘How can you have an access and authentication system that also respects fair use?’”
The problem is right there in the premise - that DRM can work so long as users can use a product normally. For a music CD, that means making as many copies for personal use as I want, and playing the music in any format I want. In other words, so long as I don't start giving (or worse, selling) the product to others, how I make use of it shouldn't matter. That runs smack into the DRM wall, as it's highly concerned with those exact issues - how many copies (and what sorts of copies) I make.
At the end of the day, the pig is still a pig, regardless of how nice the dress is.
Finally, there is the issue of WinFX. Initially, this was called the Longhorn API (LAPI) and it was intended to be the foundation of all the applications in Longhorn. Microsoft have retreated significantly from this position. WinFX was not provided as part of any of the builds of Vista, so the clear implication is that Microsoft intends to develop Vista with native code (and possibly with a little bit of .NET through the framework library) and not to use WinFX at all. I cannot stress how significant this retreat is. Microsoft have so little confidence in their own application framework that they will not use it even in their own managed applications.
This is starting to look like a PR issue for Microsoft. I emphasize PR, because I don't think it's really a technical one (beyond the fact that no one thought to synchronize the development cycles for .NET and Vista - and that falls into management).
As Dan Fernandez has posted, there's plenty of .NET usage by Microsoft - the problem is that earlier statements by them on the subject don't make it seem that way. This is why you have to be very, very careful in what you say about upcoming releases and what will be in them. I've made that mistake myself, and I keep it in mind as we promote each of our Cincom Smalltalk releases.
Via Rob Fahrni, I see that Carson Palmer's injury is much worse than what was initially reported:
"Carson Palmer's knee injury was 'devastating and potentially career-ending,' involving numerous ligament tears, a shredded ligament, damaged cartilage and a dislocated kneecap, his surgeon said Thursday."
That sounds like a life impacting injury - never mind football. It didn't look like that big a hit at the time, but it goes to show - anything can happen when bodies collide. I think the Bengals need to look at whether or not Kitna is who they want to go with next year.
Dana VanDen Heuvel reports that CMO Magazine is going dark:
The extraordinary feedback and support from the CMO community has not been enough to sustain and grow our advertising-supported business in what has become a severely challenged publishing environment.
More to the point, they have blogs and are not just old-school publishing folk. These guys really made a run at this.
Is there just not enough of a market for marketing to marketers???
I've been getting CMO for awhile now, and liked it well enough. I think the key issue is that their model assumed that they could get enough advertising support - I was never asked to pay for a subscription. Would I have? I don't know, but they never even asked. Perhaps they should have tried asking for revenue from their readers?
Even the high and mighty get whacked by this stuff:
Now it seems that Steven Spielberg's latest movie, Munich, might miss the opportunity to be nominated for the BAFTA Awards because of some splendidly stupid actions from the publisher. The movies where sent, to the BAFTA members for viewing, as encrypted DVD:s. Not only did the DVD:s get held-up in UK Customs, but when they finally arrived they only worked on a specific brand of DVD Player, Cinea, and where mastered as Region 1 (which is North America) which is pretty useless under normal circumstances in Europe.
The comments from one of the reviewers says it all:
Regarding the special encrypted Cinea player that we were all sent, I never hooked it up and I wonder how many people did. About half of the screeners I received are encrypted for Cinea and the other half weren't. I don't have time to watch ALL the screeners I get anyway so naturally I just end up watching the ones that are easy to watch, that I can watch on my laptop or at a friend's house. I have to believe that those movies that were sent out in the encrypted format were viewed FAR less than those that won't.
When you make the content a pain in the butt to get at, fewer people will look at - even if it's free.
Now that Smalltalk Solutions is co-located with LinuxWorld/NetworkWorld, you'll need to register earlier than you're used to - it's a big show in its own right, and the Blue Jays are in town when the show is being held. Make sure you book early - there are a lot of people attending this show. If the baseball schedule interests you, here's who Toronto is playing at that time:
April 18 and 19 … New York (before the conference)
April 21-23 … Boston
April 25-27 … Baltimore
So register now, and make sure to arrange your hotel!
Update: Apparently, registration isn't actually online yet - I was told it would be today. I'll update this post, and possibly push a new post, when that changes.
Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Scott McNealy consistently credits Apple Computer for good marketing--to the point where he listed what he believes will be his own company's glorious iPod moments. But McNealy said Wednesday believes the iPod itself will be replaced in coming years by music stored in the network.
Yeah, I'm sure that Apple will go into hibernation and pay no attention to ongoing trends. Meanwhile, how's that "everything is free" working out for the profit margins?
I was on my way out to add more memory to my Mini when disaster struck - car made a weird noise and then died. One tow from AAA later, and my mechanic informed me that the car's engine was a goner. Not so bad, all things considered - we got over 130,000 miles out of it.
Here's the thing though - I'm probably just going to have a rebuilt engine dropped in. Why? Because that's going to be about $1000, parts and labor. A new car would run me $300 - $500 a month in payments, so I figure, given my driving habits (around 3000 a year), it's wort it to drop a replacement engine.
Certainly better than the debt.
Ted Leung reports on what he's using to teach his girls about programming:
The new regimen involved another Windows shortcut to pop up Notepad. The girls then had to learn to save a file, switch windows (on purpose, not by accident) to the Python interpreter window, reload the module, and look at the Tk output window. I found myself barraged by questions that had nothing to do with turtle geometry or programming. All the questions were about the environment -- forgetting to save a file, getting windows out of focus or behind each other, forgetting to reload the module, etc. I suppose they were learning computer "literacy", but it really reminded me as to how much stuff you need to know in order to do some simple programming. In a way, it was easier when I was doing AppleSoft Basic on the Apple II -- no separate editor, no windows to lose or have out of focus.
At Mind Camp, Todd Blanchard brought by a copy of "Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots", and the girls got excited by paging through it. It looked pretty good, and Squeak/Smalltalk certainly has the programming constructs that I want my kids to be exposed to straight off (at least if they are going to be programmers). Also, one of the original motivations for Smalltalk was for allowing kids to do programming and simulations, and that heritage seems to have carried through into the Squeak community. For a great/depressing look at some of the learning applications, you can check out this video from ETech 2003.
For teaching software neophytes, nothing stays out of the way and lets you learn like Smalltalk. Which makes you consider the impediments that most people have just gotten used to :)
The main website at Cincom is undergoing an overhaul, and - as happens with all such overhauls - links to various things have gone missing at some points in the overhaul. Yesterday, it was the success stories, which all reside on the main server. The web team was very responsive though, and it's all fixed now. So if you tried to look at these and got an error, just head back and have a look now.
Add PubSub to the list of search builders that are getting washed and waxed by Splogs. I noted a few days ago that Feedster was getting overrun - most of the results I get from it fall into one of two buckets: ancient, or spam. Troy has had persistent, ongoing issues with Technorati, and he's not the only one.
I think it's clear that we have a major problem, and it's getting to be as bad as the email situation. Search providers are going to have to get serious about building spam filters into their engines - otherwise, we'll see all of the aggregator developers doing it themselves - which will make aggregators more expensive (in terms of system resource usage, not money). It would be simpler if the various providers did the job, because then everyone would benefit, whether they use an aggregator or a browser to view results.
A "Dynamic Language Day" is being held in Brussels (Belgium) next month - February 13th:
The VUB (Programming Technology Lab, System and Software Engineering Lab), ULB (deComp) and the Belgian Association for Dynamic Languages (BADL) are very pleased to invite you to a whole day of presentations about the programming languages Self, Smalltalk and Common Lisp by experts in these languages. Besides some introductory material for each language, the reflective facilities in the respective programming environments will be highlighted. The presentations will be especially interesting for people with good knowledge about current mainstream object-oriented languages like Java, C# and C++ who want to get a deeper understanding about the expressive power of Self, Smalltalk and Common Lisp. In order to prepare the ground for these presentations, Professor Viviane Jonckers will introduce the day by an overview of the benefits of teaching dynamic languages to undergraduate students in computer science. She will especially discuss the specific advantages of using Scheme as an introductory language instead of the more widely employed Java language.
This post has been updated to imply this is a developing story. It's unclear what this hack exactly does - unlock the read function, the editing function - as commenters on the post have noted
If true - for any kind of password protected Word doc - then it does demonstrate a problem with the ability to export out to straight textual formats. Perhaps protected documents should not allow themselves to be saved into those kinds of easily "hacked" formats?
Via Sam Ruby, I see that Apple has added yet another RSS Module into the mix - Dave Winer has a critique on it here. I added support for it in BottomFeeder this morning; grab the update and the example feeds should give you the extra information. I tried, but I can't get past the irony of Winer criticizing a spec. This is, after all, the guy who inflicted OPML and MetaWebLog *cough* APIs *cough* on us...
BitWorking explains it all. Too bad he didn't have time to sneak a bad word for NTLM-Auth in there.
"On the heels of the big Apple love-in that is Macworld comes some interesting but alarming news. Recently a few blogs have started to indicate that iTunes is tracking your music preferences and using that data to recommend other songs from iTMS. The article provides a good overview, with some recommendations of its own. Basically, iTunes is tracking your music and sending the data back to Apple servers. This info is then used to advertise songs that may be to your tastes. A convenient feature, perhaps, but it raises concerns over privacy."
I wonder if Amazon's book recommendations fill them with fear too.
I think Michael Gartenberg has jumped the shark. This week in ComputerWorld, he's comparing the upcoming launch of Vista to the launch of Windows 95:
This is the year of Longhorn -- I mean Windows Vista. Yep, it's real, and it's coming to a desktop near you in 2006. Expect a quiet period in Q1 and then a major ramp-up in the spring. IT won't have seen anything like this since the arrival of Windows 95. While some folks are advising IT to ignore Vista until sometime in 2008, you do so at your own peril. Between Microsoft and its partners, there's likely to be close to a billion dollars spent on marketing this thing. By the time some IT folks get around to looking at Vista, they may discover that users have already taken matters into their own hands.
Yeah, sure. I think he misses a number of things. First off, when Win 95 came out, there was a really, really compelling reason to upgrade: Windows 3.1 sucked, stability wise, and 95 looked like it was going to be a whole lot better (and it was). Now? Windows 2000 and XP are pretty stable releases. Sure, there have been plenty of security holes (WMF, anyone?), but that's true of any Windows product (or OS product, period), and I don't think anyone really believes that Vista will be dramatically better.
So why would I, as an end user of XP, press my IT department to get me Vista? What does it offer me that I don't get now? Nothing terribly compelling, that's what. If Gartenberg thinks that users will rush out and force IT to deal with Vista, he's smoking something. I fully expect Vista to flow in via new PC's, same as any other Windows release. I don't expect to see anyone really jumping for it. Contra Gartenberg, there's no buzz surrounding this. It's too late, and too many features have been jettisoned.
If Microsoft believed in managed code, we would build applications using the .NET Framework. We do.
I find it surprising that people continue to think that we don't use managed code at Microsoft.
That isn't really the problem. It's not that MS doesn't use managed code - it's exactly like the example of the instant-legacy code browser that I brought up in my post - DVDMaker makes it look like they don't use managed code. As Charles said:
Four years after .NET 1.0 was released why has a fairly small scale app aimed at end-users been written in unmanaged code? This app has UI and Vista has a new set of APIs for UI, Windows Presentation Foundation. Maybe its unfair to pick on DVD Maker but this would have been an opportunity, one of possibly many, to demonstrate not only what you can do with WPF but more fundamentally that good end-user applications can be written in .NET. Many people believe that .NET is not suitable for this type of application and a new unmanaged app like this gives them more ammunition.
Exactly. This app being done in C++ is going to raise this kind of question, whether it's fair or not. This is one of those "perception is reality" issues.
I reported a few issues with the NC installer last week - it turned out to be a simple build problem in the installer itself. That was fixed, and an updated set of executables is on the site now.
Another piece of news that should go out - we now have Solaris on x86 VMs available - as part of the NC and commercial releases.
We had a good meeting in Cincinnati today - but boy, when the day starts with a rise from bed at 4:15 am, and you're still sitting in an airport at 10:15 pm, it's been a heck of a long day. Someone invent teleportation already :)
Apple has announced their intel based Macs at MacWorld. Let the drooling begin :)
The ESUG feed has a long list of online Smalltalk videos - check them out.
4: Is DVD Maker written in managed code?
A: No. Yes, it is ironic that I spent so much time on C# and then spent a ton of time writing something in C++ code. Everybody on the team is a believer in managed code, and we hope we'll be able to use it for future projects.
I'm with Charles Cook on this one - more dogfooding would be a lot more impressive than the hype machine surrounding Vista. Reminds me of a ParcPlace engineer, way back in the VW 2.0 timeframe - he announced (internal mailing list) of his pride and joy - a brand new (code) browser (written in the legacy UI framework). I recall slagging him for it, for the same reasons that Charles posted this: it lets slip the idea that if even the experts still use the old stuff, there must be a reason for it.