The LA STUG is meeting this Monday:
When: Monday July 10, 2006
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This event repeats on the second Monday of every month.
Event Location: High Tech High, Los Angeles - Meeting Room
Street: 17111 Victory Blvd
City, State, Zip: Lake Balboa, CA, 91406
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
You can see the desperate attempt to cling to a rapidly dying business model here, with a quote from ABC:
I would love it if the MSOs, during the deployment of the new DVRs they’re putting out there, would disable the fast-forward [button],” Shaw said. “People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can’t skip commercials.” Source: Media Daily News
It's not advertising itself that is doomed - it's the notion that the audience can be forced to watch them that is. You want ads that work? You're going to have to deal with the coming world of narrow-casting, where the audience is breaking into more and more niches. It's not 1975 anymore, when a single show could command the bulk of an audience at a given time. There are too many alternatives:
- On-Demand movies
- NetFlix (et. al.)
- Video Gaming
- Direct over the net streaming video
If broadcasters think they can command a mass audience with lame devices that force us to watch ads, they have another think coming. What's next - monitors that ensure we don't go to the bathroom during the commercials? Figure out what kind of audience you have, and start delivering messages that they have interest in. You'll have a happier audience, and a happier set of advertisers. You know, an actual win-win.
Update: Via Doc Searls, I read the rest of the linked MediaPost story. To get an idea as to just how far outside the reality zone the network folks live, get a load of this quote:
Shaw also threw cold water on the idea that neutering the fast-forward option would result in a consumer backlash. He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping--and consumers might warm to the idea that anytime viewing brings with it a tradeoff in the form of unavoidable commercial viewing.
"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance," Shaw said. "It really is a matter of convenience--so you don't miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we're just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I'm not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don't fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can't skip commercials."
Umm, yeah - I live to watch those ads. Shaw is simply going to have to deal with reality. The ground is shifting, and the "one size fits all" broadcast ad model is dying. It may be harder work to figure out what your audience is actually interested in, but - once you do - you might actually be able to sell them something.
There's a New York Times Op/Ed piece that makes some interesting points about the real state of things in India - there are a lot more tragically poor people there than there are rising technocrats:
Nor is India rising very fast on the report's Human Development index, where it ranks 127, just two rungs above Myanmar and more than 70 below Cuba and Mexico. Despite a recent reduction in poverty levels, nearly 380 million Indians still live on less than a dollar a day.
The article makes the point that India also isn't seeing the rapid industrialization that China is seeing - visit any store in the US, and a ton of things are stamped "made in China". Not many say "made in India". There's another thing the piece doesn't address, and that's the middle phase that industrialization leads through. Look at the history of the US and Europe during the 19th (and into the 20th) centuries: what you see is rising labor problems, as the people working in the new factories get just well off enough to want a better life. From a few scattered reports I see in the media, I think China is starting to see that. India will see the same thing. The results of that unrest don't have to end as well as they did in the West either - there's just no telling how it will go.
The next couple of decades should be fascinating to watch that way.
Time for my weekly look at the logs. BottomFeeder downloads proceeded at a rate of 175 per day last week - I should be releasing 4.2 sometime this coming week. Here's the breakdown:
Next up: The HTML Page accesses by tool:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
That's about the normal tool distribution. Finally, the RSS tool usage:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.5%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.5%|
|RSS 2 Email||1.2%|
That distribution looks normal as well. Another week in the books.
I'd been thinking about commenting on Scoble's piece on Silicon Valley for awhile, but hadn't gotten around to it. Here's the bit that I thought was silly:
If you’re a geek outside of San Francisco or Redmond, it’s hard to get a job in the industry.
And, worse, if you are a fledgling company and you need to expand, if you aren’t in one of those areas it’s hard to find great potential workers.
This is part of the echo chamber kool-aid that Scoble (and others, I'm sure) have imbibed. What got me thinking about this again was this post - the author makes what I consider to be a key point:
First, I think the valley is actually an obstacle to doing business. The number one cause is the cost of housing. I work in Seattle. When I price houses in the bay area, they cost just about twice what my house costs. Since I measure salaries in median home price multiples, I’d have to take a 50% pay cut to move there. All bay area companies freak when I simply double my salary when asked about my expectations. Second, the local talent is overrated. Its young (people with low overhead who don’t mind paying $1500 for 400 square feet of living space), but inexperienced. So you need more boy wonders to get the same job done as you might if you hired seasoned professionals. Given a million$ budget, I’d prefer to hire 5 senior guys at $200k rather than 20 at $50k. I’ll get more done.
Very, very true. We happen to be looking for a Smalltalk engineer at Cincom right now (the job will be formally posted on Monday). The Valley is probably not one of the places we'll hire in, even though we have our main development office there. Why, you ask? Raw cost. The salary requirements for a developer in the valley will be at least 1.5 times those of someone living somewhere else (nearly anywhere, other than New York City). As the black bag guy says, I can hire a number of good people outside of the valley for the cost of one there - and it's only getting easier to support remote workers. Most of our engineers are located neither in the Valley nor in Cincinnati (our corporate HQ).
A great example of this kind of thing is DabbleDB. Avi started that firm well outside the valley, and has been growing it organically. I haven't asked him specifically, but I'd bet that Silicon Valley wasn't high on the list of places he and his fellow dabblers would want to go - their standard of living would drop like a rock.
I had this choice myself, actually, back in the 90's when I joined ParcPlace. HQ was in the Valley. They hired me as a trainer/consultant, and the need to travel would have dropped a lot had I moved west - regular classes were taught out there, while I always had to fly (either to CA or to a customer site) living here. On the other hand, my cost of living would have skyrocketed. At the time, my wife and I were able to afford a house that cost (1990) about $170K. The same house in the greater bay area would have been about 3X that. If you think management would have increased my salary commensurately, dream on.
Mind you, there are some flaws in what black bag says as well:
They [Europeans] also balance their lives and walk away from their computers to think now and then. They take holidays. Much was dicussed at gnomedex about the echo chamber. Europeans are better at leaving the echo chamber and experiencing life. The wide range of cultures in a smalll geographic region give them better perspective. They get 6-8 weeks of vacation, free health care, and job security/unemployment benefits lasting up to a year. Tech workers want to give this up? Don’t think so. This is a key advantage.
The cost of living in Europe is a lot higher than it is in most of the US as well. And those labor protections? They are a great deal for the workers who are employed now, but something of an impediment to getting hired in the first place. Europe is not one of the places we are looking to hire, for instance - and a large part of that is the state of labor law.
Bottom line, I think Robert needs to get outside the echo chamber (and I don't mean to Montana - that might be too far out). The Raleigh Durham area, Denver, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and the Washington DC metro area are all large tech congregations - and all have far, far lower costs of living than the Valley (even the DC area, which, to be honest, is getting somewhat insane). Right now, if I were planning to start a firm up, the Valley is the last place I'd look. Startups are prone to failure as it is - why increase my costs from the get go?
I thought that the "White is Coming" ad campaign Sony launched was a really, really bad idea. Sony is now finding out just how brain dead an idea it is: The NAACP is complaining (quite rightly, I think) about it now:
"The days of blacks being portrayed in minstrel shows are long gone, and with good reason," said Rick Callender, chapter president. "The minstrel show was an awful chapter in history and this ad smacks of that age and time. It is even further unacceptable that some corporations still think it is okay to use racially charged media images. The latest Sony ad conjures up bad memories of when stereotypical and offensive images of people of color were accepted means of selling a product. Sony should immediately apologize and discontinue these archaic, advertising tactics."
You have to wonder about both the ad execs and the corporate execs who okayed this campaign (follow the link to see the image - I'm not about to copy it here). Just how clueless do you have to be to think that it wouldn't offend large numbers of people?
Well, this is interesting:
Japan's SONY CORP. (TSE:6758) has taken out an 80 billion yen (US$698 million) syndicated loan from a group of 20 or so domestic financial institutions to diversify its sources of funding, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Monday. The move marks the major electronics firm's first bank loan since 1995.
I heard about that on yesterday's Buzz Out Loud podcast, while I was off jogging. Like the hosts, I wonder whether the huge PS3/Blu-Ray investment is starving Sony of ready cash for other things they want to do - apparently, much of that money is earmarked for completely different parts of the business.
This follows the ongoing layoffs at Sony - 10,000 by 2008. If the PS3 launch goes badly, it could be some very rough sailing for Sony...
I periodically get asked about problems running VisualWorks on Debian and/or Ubuntu. I got a summary from one of our engineers last night:
The two issues are:
- locale initialization failure running 32-bit VW on 64-bit system
- Font lookup failure
Jeff Hallman reports that the locale issue has been fixed by upgrading his 64 bit Ubuntu installation to the latest stable release. There isn't anything we can do about this problem internally, it's a problem with glibc and xlib not seeing the same available locales.
I just completed a bug report for the font lookup failure. I think that the problem needs to be fixed at the X server level, but the 'xset fp rehash' thing is still a viable workaround.
That last paragraph indicates that you should add that line - xset fp rehash - to your linux startup script for VW.
There continues to be speculation on Nintendo's launch price for the Wii:
Nintendo responded to the rampant speculation on Wii price and launch date by stating today that they'll announce both of those little details in September. This makes a September launch increasingly unlikely, but doesn't say much more than that. After the announcement a McNealy analyst stated: "Our position remains that the Wii could retail as low as $199 instead of $249, and October is a reasonable timeframe."
If they launch under $200, that will hit what I like to call the "impulsive" price point, which would drive a lot of holiday sales.
Last night I noticed Dave Winer's post on Podshow, where he pointed out that they are hijacking content. I flagged his post as something I'd want to take a further look at when I wasn't so tired. This morning it's gotten to be a bigger story. Geek News Central is (understandably) torqued, and it's hit Techmeme. Here's what Dave said last night:
They're doing lots of nasty stuff, for sure. I'm not happy that they're taking over my content, putting their copyright notice on it, creating their own version of my RSS feed, adding their crap, and taking out my copyright.
And here's Geek News Central this morning:
I am sitting here beyond pissed, not because they have my site automatically listed on their site that is fine because they are a directory, but in the way they have done it, this makes people assume that my podcast is part of Podshow, and diminishes my brand. They have made it near impossible to get to my home page from their site unless your really dig it's 100% unacceptable.
That's really, really stupid of PodShow. It's one thing to aggregate pointers to content - it's something else again to actually copy it for commercial use. This is the sort of thing that gets lawyers after you, and with good cause.
Technorati Tags: copyright
This afternoon, Troy and I were trying to figure out why he couldn't load the feed for one of the internal blogs into BottomFeeder. At first, we thought it might be some kind of oddball network/proxy issue, and brought in one of our IT people to answer questions. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary there, so I had Troy go to the System menu in BottomFeeder and open up a workspace. This is one of the cooler things about the application; you can write Smalltalk script just like you can in a development workspace. So, I had him try this:
(HttpClient new get: 'internalUrlWentHere') contents.
That worked, so I had him try out the test code I normally use to look for feed issues:
doc := Constructor documentFromURL: 'internalUrlHere' forceUpdate: true useMaskedAgent: false. cls := Constructor determineClassToHandle: doc content. target := cls objectForData. feed := cls processDocument: doc content from: 'internalUrlHere' into: target.
Inspecting the feed variable at the end showed that the url was reachable - what we had was a cache problem. I had Troy reset his cache in Bf, and all was well. I'll have to see about not caching bad results, but the cool thing was that we could do this in the runtime - he didn't have to set up a dev version in order to try this stuff out.
That's the power of Smalltalk, right there.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Dare Obasanjo reports that MS is going to ship support for ODF in the next rev of Office. This should be a fascinating thing to watch: MS Office will support an open format, and also beats the free tools in terms of legacy operation and disabled access. That last one will likely make for some quiet crow eating in some state governments.
I agree 100 percent with Doc on this:
Which speaks to my concerns about Net Neutrality as well, and why I kinda hope the whole telco "reform" effort in Congress crashes and burns. I think Net Neutrality is a terrific rallying cry and a fine sentiment to carry around in the marketplace. Meaning it's a fire to which we should hold the carriers' feet. But I worry about making it into law.
As Michael Powell warned F2C several months ago, be careful about getting what you wish for. Unintended consequences are a certainty, and it takes a generation or more to unscrew screwy legislation, if it ever gets unscrewed at all.
The net isn't broken now; there's no telling what consequences will flow from yet another complex series of "reform" bills on net neutrality.
Update: Mark Evans notes that this is a PR nightmare, with most of the damage likely to land on Andrew Baron - regardless of who is mostly at fault:
A quick scan of the blogosphere suggests if Baron intends to fight a PR war against Congdon, he's going to lose - and lose badly. She's got a tremendous amount of goodwill and support so Baron has everyone to lose by trying to make her look back - even if she's wrong.
I think he's got that right. That post by Amanda makes them both look bad, but most of the resulting stench is going to stick to Baron - and I'm not saying that it should. I don't know either one of them, so I have no way of knowing the whole truth of the matter. What I can see is the way the PR wind will blow.
IT folks need to stop being so serious. One can learn alternative perspectives in a variety of ways. If images distract you then you can choose to not look at them. In the blogosphere there is no audience only folks who can freely choose which channels of information they choose to listen to or ignore. I would say though that several bloggers have indicated that imagery is a good thing.
What he misses is that the images distract from his message, period. It doesn't matter how, or why. It's just the way it is. Accept that simple fact and move along, rather than trying to explain why the problem shouldn't be a problem.
Guido van Rossum watched Alan Kay give a presentation recently, and has a number of kind things to say about Squeak, and about Alan's talk. Go read it all.
I've discovered that I like listening to podcasts while I jog, and I noticed that Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch has been podcasting for awhile now. I finished listening to his June 26 interview with the Digg guys today, and something Mike said at the end of the interview struck me.
He was stating that - over time - user editing (i.e, the kind Digg does with its community) will beat out mainstream publications like the New York Times. He figures that the best writers will go independent, and their work will get picked up by sites like Digg. The bottom line - people will select democratized content over edited content.
I'm not so sure. I like Digg, and I check it regularly (using the feed in BottomFeeder). I do find that I'm reading fewer newspapers, but I haven't given up on editors. Rather, I've come to settle on a new set of them completely. Rather than faceless people at the (pick your paper here), I use various bloggers as my filter into the news. I follow people like Arrington, Scoble, Udell, and a raft of others (yes, even Winer - I may dislike his stance on RSS, but he does pick up on stuff I'm interested in) for tech news. I also use Techmeme and Digg - and, truth be told, the signal to noise ratio is way, way higher on Techmeme - nowhere near as much crap gets promoted up.
Which is not to say that Digg serves no purpose - far from it. I just wouldn't count on it as my sole source of input. Digg gets stories that would rarely get past a first cut on an editor controlled site, which does have value. There's room for both models, and I think most people will use both.
Even more: Cali at GeekbriefTV has Amanda's video and Andrew's statement. Follow the link to watch the video. I don't know either of them, so it's all he said/she said to me...
And More: Jason Calacanis is pitching Amanda on his blog. Amazing...
This is the sort of report that likely keeps a few people at the GooglePlex awake nights:
Internet advertisers paid $800 million for bogus clicks on their marketing messages last year, shaking confidence in the industry and prompting many to reduce spending with Google, Yahoo and other Web sites, according to a study to be released today.
While that's a big number, what really matters is how big it is in relation to all ad spending. Some of that context comes further down:
In today's report, advertisers say that 14.6 percent of all clicks are bogus. Moreover, three-quarters of advertisers said they had been victims at least once.
Which still doesn't tell me how big the space is. It may not matter though - the perception is what matters, and this story plays that up:
The study found that 27 percent of advertisers reduced or stopped spending on click-based advertising. An additional 10 percent said they intend to curtail spending.
"In our opinion, it is not acceptable that advertisers fund the illicit profits of the scammers," Chuck Richard, vice president of Outsell, said in the report. He added that the fraud is easy to get away with and that Web sites have done little to stop it.
I have no idea how accurate that survey is, but 27 percent is a decent size number. I've been wondering if/when click fraud would impact Google, and we might be getting near that point.
Update: Steve Rubel talks about the problem
Well this is interesting. Amanda Congdon is out at Rocketboom - and according to her, not by her choice. The main page at RB takes you straight to the archives - and the Friday show from last week was pretty lame. No way to tell why she's gotten the boot, of course - but Rocketboom was Amanda Congdon. They'll need someone fairly dynamic to replace her, that's for sure. Also curious - seemingly no word from Rocketboom as to what's going on. I think they'll find that the lack of transparency is a problem.
Update: Let the speculation begin - anyone doubt that Amanda would be a huge addition to Podtech?
Apple is tempting me again:
Apple® today introduced a new $899 configuration of the 17-inch iMac® designed specifically for education customers featuring a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, a built-in iSight(TM) video camera and iLife® '06, the next generation of Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications. The 17-inch iMac for education is available immediately and will replace the eMac®, Apple's last CRT based computer, providing students and teachers everything they need to learn and create in today's digital classroom, all in the ultra-efficient iMac design.
My daughter is a student, see...
Based on this YouTube video, you really, really don't want your fan to fail on an AMD based machine...
Looks like someone is building a Smalltalk implementation native to .NET - have a look at the Vista Smalltalk blog. This is a great explanation of the value, to my mind:
As internet connectivity improves, we will increasingly be building ad-hoc, highly connected applications. Think of how online games or workgroups might evolve as Peer-to-Peer networking becomes commonplace, or think of how applications aggregating data simultaneously from dozens of webservices might evolve.
We will need a more powerful way of doing programming to build ”instant” applications robustly and quickly.
Smalltalk originated in the powerful biological concept of “protected universal cells interacting only through messages that could mimic any desired behavior (Alan Kay)”.
With its simple messaging paradigm and minimal syntax, Smalltalk is probably the best language yet invented for harnessing the increasing potential of the Internet.
Users don’t care about specs, or arguments about formats. When you understand that you’ll understand how RSS got so big in the first place. Dave Winer evangelized RSS by building a publishing tool (Manila and later Radio UserLand) and an aggregator (Radio UserLand and later Share Your OPML.
Where’s the Atom publishing tool and aggregator that demonstrates Atom’s superiority?
Makes me wonder whether Robert got through more than the first paragraph of the post. Two thirds of the way down, DeWitt says:
Put it this way -- I couldn’t be doing half of the work that I’m doing right now on search syndication without Atom. Sending back search results snippets over RSS is one thing. Syndicating rich search content is an entirely different thing, and that requires a non-lossy syndication format.
My recommendation to application developers today is to use Atom 1.0, not RSS, as the basis for your content syndication.
The tools for Atom that demonstrate it's superiority are exactly what DeWitt said: they're all the tools and services being built up around micro-formats. Now, it didn't need to be this way - RSS could have been that spec. Sadly, Dave Winer wouldn't allow for that. For reasons understood only by Dave, he thinks that the lossy nature of RSS is a feature. When people on the RSS Advisory Board disagreed with him, he called their employer (note the resignations). When that wasn't an option, he tried threatening someone else with a lawsuit. Meanwhile, his enablers - like Scoble - say nothing. RSS could have been the unitary spec had Dave not been a complete jerk, and people like Scoble bear some responsibility for that by never, ever calling him on his BS.
James McGovern suggests that Microsoft should OSS their products:
Now if he would only do the same thing to his operating system, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange. Seems like an opportunity to one up the folks over at Oracle. I wonder if this will get any industry analyst attention?
Yeah, right. How about the firm you work at, James - would it work out well for the employees if they started giving their core products away for free?
Boris Popov has some small, but very cool mods that might help you trick out your VisualWorks image:
Here’s another package that we use quite a bit here, NewSystemIcon. It adds two new sub-menus to the System menu that allow one to pick a non-standard icon to be used throughout the image as well as a menu to change a global background color. Some may find this useful when running multiple images at the same time or simply when they need to differentiate special ones.
Head on over to his blog for some screenshots.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I posted on Ted Neward's failed analogy (in a post about O/R mapping) a week or so ago. Yesterday, at the party we had, a few of us were talking about this and that, and James McGovern's blog came up. One of my friends made an excellent point:
How can you take him seriously, when he posts the kind of silly, unrelated pictures he does?
Exactly. That's a large problem for his blog, and it's the same one Neward had in his post about O/R mapping. When an otherwise ancillary point overwhelms your message, you've failed in the basic task of communication. On McGovern's blog, most of the images he posts are political, and they are bound to irritate roughly half of his potential audience. A lot of the others are just pure nonsense images. In general, none of them have anything to do with the content of his posts.
Those images are like annoying popups - they detract from his message, and make it far less likely that his thoughts will be taken seriously.
Since industry analysts tend to focus on features at the expense of security, I figured I would use several tools to determine of what quality Ruby is relative to both Java and .NET. I wanted to also include a version of SmallTalk, more specifically the version that James Robertson evangelizes but wasn't sure of if benchmarking information could be published.
Heh. Unlike some of the big vendors, who get their panties in a twist over the idea of independent benchmarks, we don't care. If they don't look good, hey - they don't look good, and either we have work to do, or there's a problem with the test. Either way, we'll learn something.
Btw, it's Smalltalk, not SmallTalk :)
James Governor points to the curtain behind which lies the smallish pile of data upon which Gartner build magic quadrants.
I was hanging out on the AVSForum the other day and saw several posts from people who said that in their comparisons HD-DVD is far superior to BlueRay tests.
See how the grassroots could be changing popular opinion?
Maybe, but I rather suspect that the biggest driver of opinion for the two formats will be this. For the HD-DVD:
prices start at $500
For the Blu-Ray:
prices start at $1,000
That differential will hit everyone, including those that pay no attention to the online forums. I'm sure that a set of influencers touting performance differences will have an impact - but the price differential will have a bigger one.
We are having our 4th of July bbq a day early - we expect quite a crowd. Things are quiet right now, before they start arriving:
That's the patio we put in by hand a few years ago. It's a nice place now that I've forgotten the pain of moving all that dirt :)
Wouldn't be the fourth without the flag. Soon, this food will be all gone, and more will be arriving to keep it company - not to mention the burgers and dogs!
An interesting question came up on the Smalltalk IRC channel. Say I create a class that I want to use as a model for something in a database. Say the database columns start with capital letters, and I want my accessors and mutators to match those names. If you define the class using the class creation tool, it will force the first letter of each of those methods to lower case - not what you want. You don't want to create all those methods by hand, so what do you do?
Well, out of the mists of old muscle memory I recalled class CodingAssistant. Before the RB was integrated, it was a tool that I had added into the browser's menu, so that I could easily generate those methods. It comes in with the UIPainter parcel, so just load that, and then open the tool this way:
Then enter your class name, select the variables to generate code for, and you're done.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I've made progress on freeing two packages from their dependency on BottomFeeder - PatchFileDelivery and SyndicationHandling. The former is a simple toolset for setting up HTTP based updates to an application. To use it, you have to set up an XML based config file on a server, and have HTTP access to that file. Setting up the file works like this:
defs := OrderedCollection new. list := #('ParcelFileName/pcl'). names := #('My Application Parcel'). descripts := #('Description of this component'). sizes := list collect: [:each | each asFilename fileSize]. allows := #(true). list do: [:each | | version nm timestamp properties index | properties := [CodeReader new readInfoFromFileNamed: each] on: OsError, CodeReader fileFormatSignal do: [:ex | ex return: Dictionary new]. version := properties at: #version. nm := properties at: #parcel. timestamp := properties at: #timestamp. index := list indexOf: each. comp := ComponentDefinition parcelName: nm parcelFilename: (each asFilename tail asString) version: version releaseDate: timestamp descriptiveName: (names at: index). comp description: (descripts at: index). comp fileSize: (sizes at: index). comp allowDynamicLoad: (allows at: index). defs add: comp].
That sets up a simple configuration file. You place that in an accessible location (along with the parcel, obviously), and you're ready to go. On the client end, you need to have the UpgradeManager class check for updates. You do that with the #grabRemoteUpgradeDefinitions message. That looks like this:
grabRemoteUpgradeDefinitions "try to connect to remote server and get the available updates" | url defs | url := self settings upgradeURL last = $/ ifTrue: [self settings upgradeURL, self settings upgradeFilename] ifFalse: [self settings upgradeURL, '/', self settings upgradeFilename]. defs := (XMLConfigFile loadFromURL: url). (defs isNil or: [defs isEmpty]) ifTrue: [self patches: #()] ifFalse: [| tmps | tmps := defs first. tmps do: [:each | each oldVersion: each getCurrentlyLoadedVersion]. self patches: (tmps select: [:each | each couldReplaceLoadedComponent])]
That uses the XMLConfigFile class (in a separate package) to load the update definitions. Those are then checked agains what's actually loaded, and we come up with a list of potential updates. In Bf, that's presented to the user - you could automate it from there. In the UpgradeManager, there's an #upgrade: and #upgradeAll API for doing that.
The other package, Syndication-Handling, is not as cleanly separated yet. There are a few ugly #isDefined checks, but it does load and work independently of Bf. Once you load it, you can see how it works by doing this:
doc := Constructor documentFromURL: 'http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/rssBlog/rssBlogView.xml' forceUpdate: true useMaskedAgent: false. cls := Constructor determineClassToHandle: doc content. target := cls objectForData. feed := cls processDocument: doc content from: 'http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/rssBlog/rssBlogView.xml' into: target.
You'll get back this if you inspect to feed object:
That code should work against any version of RSS or Atom out there, and should give you back a FeedList (a collection of feeds) if you hand it OPML or OCS.
My daughter's friends are all out (they had a sleepover last night), and now it's time to get ready for a holiday barbecue. We're having it today instead of on the 4th itself - this way, no one has to head out early for Fireworks. We've made mighty preparations - I have 12 pounds of beef ready to lay across the grill. Happy Fourth of July weekend to all!
I mentioned in passing that I was subscribed to 320 feeds the other day. This evening I did some weeding - it turns out that some of the feeds had been inactive for a long time (some for over a year). Pulling those out dropped me down to 284. Still a lot, but it's under the 300 level :)
With the Summer Release out the door, it's time to take a look at what's new in the upcoming Winter Release. Here's the list of what's planned:
- ObjectStudio 8 initial support (Probably Preview)
- ObjectStudio running on the VW VM
- Bug fixes for ObjectStudio 7.1.2 (7.x existing VM path)
We will have more details on ObjectStudio 8 as initial beta testing happens
- 64 bit support for HP (PA Risc) and PPC (PPC Mac, AIX)
- Support for intel based Mac OS X (should be available after the summer release, and before the winter release)
- New, more stable PPC Mac OS X VM (should be available after the summer release, and before the winter release)
- Shared Perm space implemented on 64 bit platforms
- Loadable GUI on PPC/AIX & HPPA/HPUX
- 64 bit DLLCC on all supported 64 bit platforms
- Initial support for deploying a Smalltalk app as a DLL/shared lib with callable APIs
- Base System
- Non-blocking DNS lookups
- Fix for font lookup issues that impact some Linux distributions
- Threaded COM Support
- Win CE support folded into the base system
- Continued work on simplifying the deployment of Smalltalk applications
- Delivery of a smaller base.im
- Continued Unicode improvements, including VM/image level support on the Mac
- More Locales - Chinese, possibly others
- Maintain Override loading order
- Atomic Source Loading
- Configuration Management with tools
- Improvements to the Merge Tool
- Preview support for Splash, the Pollock based GUI Builder
- Continued work on unifying the tools sub-strata for inspectors, debugger, and browsers
- XSchema moved to supported state
- Ciphers - CTR Mode, RSA-PKCS1v2 padding
- OpenSSL wrapper - add RSA, DSA, DH (preview)
- certificate creation APIs
- more extensions
- TLS v 1.1/1.2
- Pluggable APIs for the OpenSSL wrapper
- ASN.1 - further improvements
- Net Clients
- MIME enhancements
- HTTPS proxying
- Smalltalk to Smalltalk (Opentalk)
- bi-directional connections
- firewall/NAT traversal
- secure connections (SSL)
- Web Services
- Header support in WS Tools
- X2O binding editor
- WSDL binding editor
- Pollock - see the Roadmap for details
- Deliver Feature Set 3
- Web Toolkit
- Scripting (startup) support
- Better headless operation
- Browser (Web) Plugin
- Full support for Windows IE
- CAB installer support (Windows)
- Possible support for Linux/Mozilla and Safari
- Move to supported state
- Sybase 15 support
- SQL Server 2005 Support
- Oracle timestamp data type support
- ODBC Connection Pooling
- MySQL Support
- Connects for 64 bit platforms
I guess it was a good idea to just turn trackbacks off - since about 4 AM on the 29th, there have been 14,201 attempted trackbacks (and most likely a handful were actual, non-spam trackbacks).
The Times catches up with the fact that every customer interaction is now part of marketing - they have an analysis up of the "please cancel my AOL" thing that made the rounds a few weeks ago (as well as the "sleeping Comcast technician" incident). Here's their take:
How should Mr. Finkelstein have responded? By writing a letter of complaint to some distant regulatory authority that will require years before it acts? Far more effective means are now at hand. He recorded, then uploaded the video clip with some humorous asides about missed appointments and unfulfilled promises, and got immediate satisfaction in the act of sharing. More than 500,000 viewers have watched Mr. Finkelstein's video "thank you" note to Comcast.
AOL and Comcast executives in charge of customer service may long for the good old days when they had to deal only with a finite number of federal regulators and state attorneys general, not a universe of millions of Web-savvy customers.
Maybe those execs should buy Glenn Reynold's book :) The fact is, every customer interaction is now a potential marketing incident - and the more Kafkaesque ones can create huge blowback. To wit - AOL has been flagged by regulators for this sort of thing before - but it didn't take. This sort of thing has a far better chance of succeeding, because it puts the negative experience of the people affected right on the front burner:
AOL internally boasts to its employees that third-party verification is an "industry-first initiative to guarantee quality," but isn't this like a parolee showing off his electronic ankle bracelet as proof of how trustworthy he is? The public embarrassment of the settlement faded with time, but then Mr. Ferrari's five-minute recording undid 10 months of public relations repair work.
Seems that even the slow learners at AOL have finally gotten the message:
On the Monday after the public debut of Mr. Ferrari's call to AOL, Scott Falconer, an AOL executive vice president, sent an e-mail message to company employees alerting them to Mr. Ferrari's blog post and warned, "On any interaction, you should assume that it could be posted on the Web."
That's only been obvious for a few years now. You would think that a supposed tech company would get that, but their failure to adapt to the broadband world has led them down a really stupid path. Reading the rest of the article, it sounds like they'll need a few more object lessons before they really get it.
I suspect that if I refer to the original creators of the agile manifesto as a club they may go into defense mode. Maybe they could tell us why none of the original members worked for large enterprises, the federal government, large consulting firms and so on. While the work was good, was this in rebellion to something else?
Well, the creation of XP itself happened on the C3 project at Chrysler. Which was (and is), a pretty big enterprise shop. In fact, the C3 project was an attempt to rescue an enterprisey project that was failing.
Scoble explains in a Wired interview why RSS will remain important - but will also stay niche:
In an RSS aggregator it shows you any new things, so it makes it so much more productive. So the first thing I ask is, do you read more than a couple of sites? Do you keep going back to the same sites?
And that's why it's not going to go mainstream, because if you're reading only one or two, there's not enough of a productivity gain for you to care.
That's why journalists and newsfreaks care, people who are passionate about keeping up with lots of things. It's the passionate ones, and they're the ones getting everybody to pay attention anyway.
That's about the size of it. People like me (I'm subscribed to 311 feeds right now) are outliers - most people just aren't interested in that much news and information. If you visit a handful of sites once or twice a day, a browser works great, and bookmarks are sufficient. It's only when you start trying to follow tens (or, like me, hundreds) of news sources a day that an aggregator becomes critical.
I've posted a new dev build - the one I posted yesterday had some issues with the update tool. THis one seems fine that way - go to the download page, and scroll down to the Dev section. Bear in mind that this is a dev build, so it would be prudent to back stuff up :)
Update: If you do grab this dev build, then grab the update for the main (BottomFeeder) component - there was a missing code problem in that piece, and the update addresses that.
It's time for my weekly look at the logs - first up, BottomFeeder downloads, which ran at a rate of 161 per day last week:
Those look about the same as always. Next, the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
That looks like the normal distribution for the site. Interestingly, the absolute number of pageviews doesn't seem to be rising much, while the number of unique IP addresses in that mix is rising. Good trend, I'd say. Finally, the RSS accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.6%|
|RSS 2 Email||1.3%|
Slight increase in share for Bf this week, but about normal otherwise.
Ted Murphy, CEO of advertising firm Mindcomet, has launched a new service called PayPerPost.com. You guessed it, it’s a marketplace for companies to connect with bloggers who are willing to blog about a product - for a price. The companies can set guidelines for their requests such as whether a picture must be included and whether they will only pay for positive blog coverage. There does not appear to be any requirement that the payment for coverage be disclosed. There is a requirement that PayPerPost.com must approve your post before you are paid. Wow.
This sounds like a blogosphere version of product placement. You know - you watch a movie, and when a laptop gets opened, it's a MacBook. When a soda gets drunk it's a coke. And so on. I'm not sure I'd call this the end of the blogosphere as we know it, but it sure will make separating the wheat from the chaff a lot harder.
Of course, you already need to pay attention to the messenger. I do Smalltalk advocacy here, and you should take note of the fact that I'm the product manager for Cincom Smalltalk. The relevant bit here is that I disclose that - and as Mike notes above, there's no apparent disclosure in the PayPerPost system. What this boils down to is that anyone using this service had better hope that they aren't found out - their stealth marketing will turn into an anti-campaign immediately.