Nick Carr has been tracking how Wikipedia is turning up in search results - and it looks like it's "climbing the charts":
But the findings get more interesting when you look beyond the averages to the particular results turned in by each of the three engines. It turns out that Google's algorithm absolutely adores Wikipedia and that Yahoo's passion for the online encyclopedia is nearly as ardent. But Microsoft's MSN algorithm seems strikingly less enchanted by Wikipedia's charms. Wikipedia turned up in Google's top ten a whopping 89% of the time and in Yahoo's 77%, but it appeared in MSN's top ten just 38% of the time. What's up with that?
Cuhalev also found that when Wikipedia does turn up in the top ten it tends to rank very highly indeed. It's in the top three results 76% of the time at Yahoo, 66% at Google, and 54% at MSN.
This doesn't surprise me, nor does it worry me. I find Wikipedia to be a decent information source of information. Not perfect by any stretch, but it's usually a good intro. Like anything else, you want to dig deeper on any subject you are truly interested in.
Having the Zune launch without any Mac support seems like an error to me:
Bad news for Mac users -- the Microsoft Zune won't be Mac compatible at launch time. Thanks to the Zune not supporting mass storage mode, and the fact that Microsoft hasn't made a Mac version of the Zune Marketplace software, the Zune will be Windows-only for the time being. But seriously, how many Mac users were going to buy Zunes instead of iPods anyway?
Had they been the first big entry into this space (as Apple was), then this might have been acceptable. However, they aren't the first big entry. I don't know why MS, with all their resources, couldn't get a coordinated launch together.
I see Sony is going to pay for their decision to go with all bleeding edge components in the PS3 - the limited launch supply just got more limited:
What's worse than 100,000 units at launch? How about 80,000? The Nikkei Keizai Shimbun morning edition reports today that due to component shortages, Sony will have only 80,000 units ready for the PS3's 11/11 Japanese launch. This cuts back by a fifth the initial launch target of 100,000. The lack of digits in that number is even more staggering when you consider that the PS2 sold out of nearly a million units when it launched back in March of 2000.
I think the vendors who sell game consoles are going to be very, very unhappy on launch day, as they'll get sold out in minutes - and spend the rest of the day saying "I don't know" when asked about new shipments.
I wonder how many XBox 360 and Wii units will sell based on the "at least it's in stock" theory?
Via Nick Carr, I found Mark Cuban's post - he has an email from someone he calls a trusted source with some details on the YouTube deal. If this is true, it certainly lessens my sympathies toward the labels on copyright:
>The media companies had their typical challenges. Specifically, how to
>get money from Youtube without being required to give any to the
>talent (musicians and actors)? If monies were received as part of a
>license to Youtube then they would contractually obligated to share a
>substantial portion of the proceeds with others. For example most
>record label contracts call for artists to get 50% of all license
>deals. It was decided the media companies would receive an equity
>position as an investor in Youtube which Google would buy from them.
>This shelters all the up front monies from any royalty demands by
>allowing them to classify it as gains from an investment position. A
>few savvy agents might complain about receiving nothing and get a
>token amount, but most will be unaware of what transpired.
Again, it's unsubstantiated - but boy, if it's true, I'd call it too clever by half. The more powerful artists might well make a stink.
Technorati Tags: music
Ok, I'm not really trying to specifically pick on Java here - it's certainly possible to fail in trying to run a mismatched Smalltalk image and VM - I had something really, really odd happen yesterday. I hadn't installed any new Java components, but a Java app I use - The Levelator - wouldn't run. Thinking it was broken, I just hacked out the podcast audio with Audacity. Today, I was thinking of looking at Eclipse, and boom - same problem.
So I looked in the Windows control panel, and I had Java 5 update 6. Now, I have no idea whether I let the Java update tool grab that - I don't recall what I downloaded with the Levelator. Whatever - nothing worked with that. I grabbed update 9, and now everything is fine. Anyone know what happened here?
This is going to make the MPAA go absolutely bats: Handbrake, and application that lets you rip a DVD to your video iPod (or similar device). The key is, it's not defeating the DVD encryption schenme; it's simply piggybacking onto the stream created by your PC or Mac player.
Now you know why the MPAA wants utterly hostile crap like PVP-OPM on Windows - they want to lock down the player, and force you to buy a separate copy of content for each device you own. This is a fight they can't really win; at the end of the day, bits are bits. They need to adapt to the changing business environment, and fast - or they'll get dealt with the way newspapers are being dealt with.
Ed Foster highlights an all too common support problem: can you actually get the vendor on the phone?
"I went to Tascam's website to get a number for support. Okay, no toll-free number so I dropped an email to the support address - saves waiting on the phone. A week goes by and nothing. I call -- get someone and get shunted to the voicemail of the tech who handles this unit (he hasn't arrived at work yet) so I leave a voicemail. No response to this day. In the meantime I've called twice and both times gotten a message about 'We are either at lunch or all techs are busy. Please call back.' NO chance to leave a message, no way to tell them to call me. This is insane! No way for a customer to leave a message -- instead I'm supposed to spend my time playing phone roulette -- dialing Tascam and hoping someone will be there. Well, not here. I have a call into the rep for Tascam who handled our account. At this point my attitude is that on anything I have a say-so on, Tascam will not be on the vendor list. We pay good money for the equipment and don't expect to have to play phone tag. This is professional equipment and I expect the ability to at least leave a message."
I'd bet that management at that shop believes that they are saving money on phone support. What they've never asked themselves (because it's not easily quantifiable, and doesn't fit on a spreadsheet well) is whether the policy is driving off customers and creating bad PR.
Scoble asks an interesting question: under what circumstances should you consider running ads on a blog?
What do you think? Should I sell ads here? If it was your blog, would you hesitate? Why?
I think it really depends on your goals. Here, I'm doing PR and evangelism for Cincom Smalltalk - so I don't think ads would help much. If this were a personal blog, rather than a corporately sponsored one, my answer would probably be different.
For corporate blogs, it's a policy decision, not a personal one. Scoble is sitting in a gray area there, so I'm not sure what he should do...
This week, Michael wasn't able to join us - the time change and screwy weekend schedules combined to muck that up. David and I spoke about Smalltalk version control, and we addressed feedback from our listeners. Download the podcast here; if you have feedback, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. MP3 files welcome.
Well, this comes a day late - I forgot yesterday, and I was busy with my daughter's girl scout troop all day - and now I'm editing the audio for the weekly podcast. Anyway, BottomFeeder downloads went at a rate of 190/day - the details:
HTML pages accesses continue to rise - and IE usage is staying up as well. Looks like IE 7 may be driving that:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Syndication subscriptions are rising as well - the details there:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.4%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||5.4%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
David and I had to go ahead without Michael this week - our schedules meshed badly, and it was too late for Michael - the daylight savings time cutover didn't help there. I'll be getting to the editing of the audio later - I have a girl scout event to chaperone soon.
The agenda is cram packed with sessions covering all aspects of Consumer Generated Media (CGM) including an overview of where we are today, why people do this stuff, where CGM is going in the future, and how exactly marketers can leverage and measure this powerful channel. Ironically, the confirmation email I received for the event includes this warning:
"Off The Record: the CGM Summit is off the record, so please no blogging, reporting, recording or broadcasting."
Hmmm... So how can you host an event about consumer generated media and not let your consumers, um, generate media?
I think they don't get the point :)
Scoble notes that Apple's blogging policy - no work related stuff - hinders something that a lot of us are starting to expect: Googling to find a product contact person.
But what he doesn’t admit is that Google has changed everything. Now I totally expect to be able to find an employee at a company running a product group. Here’s a test.
Go to Google. Type “OneNote blog.” You’ll find Chris Pratley. He runs the team. I can tell him his product sucks in his comments.
Now, go back to Google. Type “Apple MacBook blog.” Do you find an Apple employee? No. You find a corporate page. Send an email there. Does it go to the right person? I have no idea. Certainly bloggers who’ve tried that recently due to Apple’s rebooting problems are getting unstatisfactory answers.
That's a very good point. If you Google any of these phrases:
You get to me pretty quick. The last one takes you first to an OST datasheet, but my contact email is on that site too - and the second result is my blog. I think Apple (and any other company not on this bandwagon) is missing something here. PR is no longer the exclusive domain of the high priests in that department.
Now, I have to admit - even Cincom isn't that great on this. For Smalltalk related stuff, my site pops right up. However, try any of these:
The first one pulls my blog, the last pulls something (non-Cincom) related, and the others get nothing related to Cincom at all. There's a lot to be done, it seems.
Technorati Tags: marketing
"What happens when a film studio and a fanbase get into bed? Fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly, and the movie by Universal Studios - Serenity - are not amused. After being encouraged to viral market Serenity, the studio has started legal action against fans (demanding $9000 in retroactive licensing fees in one case and demanding fan promotion stop), and going after Cafepress. The fans response? Retroactively invoice Universal for their services."
Universal seems to be trying to "protect their trademark" after the fact:
Naturally, people have the right to protect their trademarks -- but when you do viral marketing you also have to relax on that a bit. The Serenity PR people sent me lots of images and art, with the obvious expectation that I'd use them in publicity. When you do that sort of thing, it filters out. This was a bad time to lawyer up.
What do the bozos there think marketing had in mind when the images and artwork were sent out? This is so, so stupid - they are poisoning the well for any future viral effort - who's going to trust the PR flacks after this?
I'm sure that publicly looking like a set of morons is great for the studio...
Citing widespread interference on broadcast frequencies used by its member stations, National Public Radio has asked the Federal Communications Commission to order recalls of millions of FM modulators that drivers use to play satellite radios and iPods through their car stereos.
Doc makes a great case for why none of that matters - head on over there for his reasons. I have to agree with him - the only interference I've ever heard myself was a Disney bus (in Disneyworld) overwhelming my modulator on a frequency with no radio stations at all. Not exactly a catastrophe warranting a recall, IMHO.
IBM's patent infringement suit against Amazon is the equivalent of Big Blue saying "Excuse me everyone, we've got something very important to say." Very important indeed if you own or operate a Web site with advertisements on it.
Now, I don't like software patents, but I did hear something about this one yesterday. Apparently, IBM has two things going for it:
- The patent dates back to the 80's with Prodigy
- Just about every other entity IBM has approached has paid a license fee - Amazon told them to go stick it.
I'd be more willing to cheer Amazon's stance if they weren't holding the asinine "one click" patent.
Boris Popov has some pointers for deploying a Seaside application with Apache:
If you’re about to deploy a new shiny application you developed with Seaside, you’re probably wondering how to go about it. Well, here’s one way of doing it and its generic enough that it may just work or require very little tweaking if you already have Apache2 installed.
Technorati Tags: seaside
Jeff Jarvis notes how much extra cost there is in TV production:
On the way to one of three meetings I happened to have this week with people who are starting new, lightweight networks — because the internet lets them — I walked by a location shoot for a TV show. We see them all the time, we jaded New Yorkers, and so we’re never amazed. But what does not cease to amaze me is all the stuff it takes — or they think it takes — to shoot a show: trucks filled with lights and cables and plugs, handcarts filled just with the director’s chairs with stars names on the back, bins overflowing even with wooden boxes with the Paramount logo on the side, assistant directors running around trying to act more important than the snotty gophers they are, catering trucks with expensive caterers: expense everywhere.
I mentioned last week that I thought TV would hold up against the "DIY" juggernaught, but I could be wrong - there's a lot of extra cost mentioned above. How much do you really need, if you just want to capture a scene, and are willing to use actors who don't have egos the size of Montana?
I don't know the answer - I suspect know one does, yet - but there are tons of amateur and semi-pro actors around - many of them are doing part time local theater. Would they be willing to do full-time drama for a lot less than the cost for (insert star here)? I expect the answer is yes. Jeff touches on that, and other costs, here:
Do they really need all that to shoot three minutes of obvious primetime drama? Of course, they don’t. Studio and network executives have lamented the cost for a long time, but they haven’t been able to change it. That’s how TV is made — or that’s how the priests of the TV tools told us it is made. But with ratings and now revenue facing merciless shrinkage, the networks will attack this cost structure. The first, stupid response was to invent stupid, cheap, reality shows: NBC’s answer to its declining economics was to declare defeat at shovel us **** at 8 p.m.
I predict that one smarter network will soon discover a show made cheap, handheld cameras, no location trucks, no gaffers, no ADs, no caterers, and no numbing studio structure but lots of creativity and passion and independence: a show made by one of those three ventures I met with this week. That show will go on the air and be a hit, not because of how it is shot but because of what it says. The networks will discover that they can get quality TV that is still popular — not as popular as the blockbusters of old, yes, but popular enough to be profitable so long as the costs are low. That will be great news for the creative class, because it will lower the barrier to an audience. And that will be good news for us, formerly known as the audience, because we’ll see TV that is valued for its creativity over its infrastructure.
Consider RocketBoom - it's not a newscast in the same sense that the evening news is, but it easily could be (or something like it could be). How much lower do you think Andrew's production costs are? Now apply that thought to entertainment shows, using actors who make average salaries (instead of millions per show). Further imagine that said shows show up on iTunes, with some kind of slipstreamed ads (product placement, short spots) for free download.
Now you start to understand why the studios want a DRM wall between your PC and your TV - the last thing they want is inexpensive (and inexpensively produced) content streaming to the living room TV. They would much rather keep you on their plantation. What's going on now is a modern-day replay of the luddite's war against mechanical looms - only with the media machine cast into the part of Ned Ludd.
Looks like the RIAA's "fire and forget" lawsuit strategy may end up costing them, if lawyer Barringer-Thomson has her way:
Oklahoma based attorney Marilyn Barringer-Thomson is proving to be a giant pain in the tucas for the RIAA. You may remember the case of Debbie Foster, in which Barringer-Thomson beat the RIAA at their own game by making a motion for summary judgment. The RIAA withdrew the case, presumably because they didn't feel that laying their cards on the table was the smartest move at that juncture. The judge in the case allowed the RIAA to withdraw their lawsuit, but ruled that it was "with prejudice", meaning the RIAA is at fault and opening the door for Foster to recover legal fees accrued from her defense.
Anything that causes the RIAA pain is just fine with me. Those guys are trying to hang on to an increasingly outdated business model by their fingernails. Like a wounded animal, they need to be put down.
Engineering has released new 7.x VMs - the following bugs have been addressed:
- 50949: Launching an image gives write permission to it
- 51236: Bus Error when VI is reading/accepting socket data on intel macosx engine
- 51239: Sentinel in win vm's io semaphore array's free list is wrong.
- 51255: Windows socket performance 100 times worse if background processes are running
- 51316: description of primitive 390 for OS8
- 51328: 51077 introduced a bug on Solaris causing lost delays when moving windows
- 51330: Revert to VC++ v6
- 51359: StrAllocate needs an OE function for fixed space
- 51363: ZLib code fails to export all functions in the zlib interface.
The following ARs were fixed in the preceding 7.4c engines:
- 46964: Moving mouse speeds up thapi queries 30-fold on Linux MP.
- 50990: Moving low-level event dispatch from the VM up into the VI
- 50992: Wave Core parcel crashes engine upon load on 64 bit linux (VM)
- 50994: A remote Postgres connection makes the Linux VM run hot
- 51077: Fix to debug engine's interminable stream of "lost time signal in waitForIO"
- 51078: LAZY_UNLINKING regime fails to void cached MNU PICs
- 51081: crash in LESS application looks like a Visualworks bug
- 43106: Attempting to receive data on a SocketAccessor results in UHE: WSAECONNRESET under Windows 2000
- 51155: soft heap ulimit restricts memoryUpperBound on Solaris since 7.4
- 51174: 64-bit Linux hot hang in #waitNoButton
Grab 'em and go
Andres Valloud attended a keynote at OOPSLA that covered type inference (using Haskell, sounds like):
Haskell's type classes are, as I understood them, a way to pass a sort of "method dictionary" so that type inference works. However, the type inference breaks when not all sends are "monomorphic". Well right, if all sends are monomorphic, then types are essentially method lookups --- hence my previous claim that good type inference engines are hard to come by
Go read the whole thing - Andres draws some conclusions, and they come from his experience in the field.
Update: With a tip of the hat to Giovanni, the link is fixed
Nick Carr locates the soft, white underbelly of the OSS "community" model - it makes it fairly easy for a large corporation to slap down a trouble-making (in their mind) smaller company:
Are there economic or other barriers that prevent competitors from capitalizing on the investments of the open-source companies?
We're about to get a lot closer to an answer to that question, thanks to that great clarifying force in the technology business, Larry Ellison. Yesterday, Ellison announced that his company, Oracle, fully intends to eat the fruits of the labor of Red Hat, the leading for-profit supplier of the open-source Linux operating system. Oracle is taking the version of Linux developed by Red Hat and distributing it under its own brand, as "Unbreakable Linux." And, in a stab at Red Hat's very heart, Ellison claims that Oracle will substantially undercut the open-source firm's prices for supporting the software. It seems like a claim that shouldn't be hard to fulfill. After all, Oracle doesn't have to pay those labor costs.
It should be interesting to watch that play out - and it demonstrates why I'm leery of any Open Source business strategy for our product.
Rogers Cadenhead has come up with a rather innovating anti-spam technique:
I'm trying a new technique this week that makes spam easy to detect by putting a bunch of bogus text areas on a weblog form, hiding them with Cascading Style Sheets, and checking them for input when the comment is submitted. I call these fields comment flak .
Spammers typically put their junk comment in every text area on a form. When text shows up in any of these flak fields, my blogging software treats it as spam.
That's a brilliant idea. I'll have to look into that.
Patrick Logan calls a spade a spade:
Seriously, Ruby is in dire need of a decent implementation. The JVM and the CLR are fine for what they are, old legacy. But Ruby needs its own *modern* implementation.
I'd love to have a Ruby implementation on our VM. The difficulty is in figuring out a business model that would support doing the investment.
Scoble quotes Jonathan Klein on the changes in the stock photo business being wrought by people like Thomas Hawk:
This is a business that’s seeing radical changes due to folks like Thomas. Thomas is an amateur. He gives his high-res images away for free, or for a low price if you want to use them commercially. He uses the same Canon 5D that other professionals are using. And, his images are often as good or better than the ones the pros are getting.
We know a semi-pro photographer (she helped my daughter's girl scout troop with a photography badge last year) who is running into the same thing, only she's far better prepared for those changes than the big photo warehouses like Getty are.
That's exactly what the music (and TV, and movie) businesses fear - becoming a commodity. The photo business is getting hit hard, because there's simply no way to lock up most photos. Some - of historical events - sure. There's going to be less and less of that as we go forward though, due to the sheer proliferation of good cameras. A decent amateur will be happy selling for a lot less than the pros do.
Now, as musical recording gets easier, we'll start to see some of the same thing happen. There are lots and lots of small bands that have no real interest in going pro - my cousin is in one. He has a wife and son, and doesn't really want to do the kind of road work that it would require. He also has a fulltime job, which makes music a hobby. As with photos, the band he's in would sell for a lot less than the pros and studios want to sell for - and they don't seem to be hung up on DRM, either.
It's going to be a rough transition for the studios to make, and they'll keep resisting it every inch of the way. In the end, I don't think they'll win. TV and movies - that will probably hold up longer. Doing quality story lines takes an actual budget - you have props, special effects, and - more importantly - time management. If you want to record a 2 hour movie that holds together, it's real work, and that requires paid time on the part of the people involved.
So what happened? Sometime around JavaOne we heard about the Ruby KaiGi in Japan, a Ruby conference or get-together of some sort. If RubyConf is the big conference for us Westerners, this at least provided a mid-year update for English-speaking Rubyists. Matz was there, Koichi was there, and I believe other Ruby dignitaries made the trip as well.
And then Matz and Koichi dropped the bomb: Ruby 2.0 would support neither continuations nor green threads.
I'm not so sure that's a good thing - it removes power from application developers, that's for sure. Anyone else have thoughts on that?
Scoble makes a call for a useful metric: engagement. What does that mean?
Well, I’ve compared notes with several bloggers and journalists and when the Register links to us we get almost no traffic. But they claim to have millions of readers. So, if millions of people are hanging out there but no one is willing to click a link, that means their audience has low engagement. The Register is among the lowest that I can see.
That sounds like a good measure, if we can get it. The trouble is, it's probably hard to get. Consider: I don't see much of an uptick in traffic when I get linked on various high traffic blogs, but I don't think it's due to non-engagement. Rather, it's due to a significant shared audience.
When a big social site - like Digg, Slashdot, or Reddit links to you, the overlap is smaller (in percentage terms), so you see a much bigger avalanche - from people who aren't aware that you exist. Over in the political sphere, it sounds like a link from Instapundit can have the same effect. So the measure Scoble wants would be highly useful, but I expect it'll be hard to get - it's in that "I know it when I see it" category, seems to me.
Technorati Tags: metrics
I love the idiotic chatter about A-Rod, and how his sub-par (not awful, just sub-par) season led the Yankees to disaster. ESPN reports that A-Rod won't be traded, which might just demonstrate that Cashman (Yankees GM) understand the real problem: pitching:
"Brian Cashman and I had a discussion and he made it clear that he has no intention of trading Alex," Boras told the Daily News, "and I told him that Alex Rodriguez has a no-trade clause.
"There will be no movement of Alex Rodriguez this offseason," Boras said.
However, baseball executives are unsure whether Boras' statements are believable, particularly given Rodriguez's postseason struggles and the media scrutiny in New York.
Here's the real problem, and it has Steinbrenner written all over it: how many decent young arms could have been picked up for the money they are shelling out to Randy Johnson? Johnson is my age, and - as I've said before - that's not a good thing. He's well past his prime, and his ERA shows that.
Let's say that they could have acquired 3-5 young arms for that money. If even 1 had worked out, the Yankees would be better off. Forget A-Rod. He's not the issue. The issue is pitching, period.
James McGovern makes an interesting point, although it might not be the one he was looking to make:
Many enterprisey folks aren't capable of researching the marketplace for themselves and therefore rely on large analyst firms to put things into nice charts and graphs for them. If the large analyst firms don't have enough integrity to also list open source projects in their matrix then enterprisey folks will not even learn about what benefits them.
That's a failure on so many levels. First, the people within the enterprise. If they can't research the market themselves, then management has a problem. Then there's management - why are they happy paying large dollar figures to large analyst firms just to get conventional wisdom? Some of the nimbler firms - Redmonk comes to mind - don't seem to fall into herd think.
Maybe those enterprisey folks should start doing some of the work themselves, so that they could draw their own conclusions.
Technorati Tags: management
Engadget notes the decidedly non-agile state of voting machine development:
Even though this flaw was evident as far back as 2002, secretary of the State Board of Elections Jean Jansen said she only recently became aware it; meanwhile Hart InterCivic can't touch the machines until it performs a system-wide firmware upgrade next year, and even that is contingent upon certification from state regulators.
I'm not sure how you would classify that kind of development cycle, but it sure isn't agile. There should be some kind of compromise position between "we can't touch it, ever" and "hack on it anytime".
Sci Fi Wire reports that Lost will be taking a mid-season hiatus:
ABC's hit series Lost will return for the second half of its third season on Feb. 7, after a 13-week hiatus; it will then run without repeats until the end of the season, Zap2it.com reported.
Sci Fi channel does a lot of that - BSG and the Stargates have operated this way for years. If the idea is to avoid reruns, I wonder if we'll start seeing pressure to move beyond the 20-26 episode season?
Andres Valloud lays out why he prefers dynamic typing. Agree or disagree, I think he makes a good case, and explains how and why he comes down on the side of dynamic typing.
Update: Andres followed up his own post with some additional thoughts.
Martin Fowler has a nice roundup of some of the better boardgames out there. My personal favorite right now is Caylus. It's a tile laying and resource management game, so it hits a number of interesting strategy points. A fascinating kicker is that turn order is not set - one of the available plays during the game is changing your position.
Caylus is not a beginner game though - if you are just getting started with this class of game, head over to Martin's place and read his recommendations.
Don Park is not happy with Microsoft's WPF, and I can see why - his list of reasons hits some real issues. To wit:
WPF can't play Flash movies nor non-Microsoft movie formats seamlessly.
WPF is not available or problematic on non-Windows platforms.
Microsoft is still acting like they could "own" the internet space. That's kind of a blinkered view, and I think they're going to pay for that.
The other day, I was looking for a way to extract the audio from digital video - specifically, there are some video blogs - mostly interviews - that I'd like to listen to, but don't really want to be bothered with the video portion. Sure, I could put them up an iconify the video, but I do most of my podcast listening while jogging.
Anyway, Gary Short recommended Xilisoft Video Converter, which sells for about $20. I grabbed the demo, which allows you to convert up to five minutes worth. Seemed to work great, and the price is certainly right. I sure wish that amenable vlogs were available as both video and audio-only, but at least I can do that myself for stuff that looks interesting enough.
Hong Kong, October 24th of 2006 - Lik-Sang.com, the popular gaming retailer from Hong Kong, has today announced that it is forced to close down due to multiple legal actions brought against it by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Sony claimed that Lik-Sang infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights by selling Sony PSP consoles from Asia to European customers, and have recently obtained a judgment in the High Court of London (England) rendering Lik-Sang's sales of PSP consoles unlawful.
That sounds weird to me. It's getting to be more and more of a global market, especially for things like electronics. Sure, there are voltage differences (110 here in North America, 220 most everywhere else) - but the power bricks on game consoles and laptops are typically set to deal with both. This sounds like what Sony's on about:
Furthermore, Sony have failed to disclose to the London High Court that not only the world wide gaming community in more than 100 countries relied on Lik-Sang for their gaming needs, but also Sony Europe's very own top directors repeatedly got their Sony PSP hard or software imports in nicely packed Lik-Sang parcels with free Lik-Sang Mugs or Lik-Sang Badge Holders, starting just two days after Japan's official release, as early as 14th of December 2004 (more than nine months earlier than the legal action). The list of PSP related Sony Europe orders reads like the who's who of the videogames industry
There's still region based roll out for many things (especially with TV and movies). Looks like Sony is trying to play whack-a-mole with reality of global shipping. They won this case, but I don't think the war is winnable.
Looks like Smalltalk and Seaside are paying the bills over here:
Well, there are plenty of really neat ways to produce web applications. Most of you (like me) will work with php, mysql and probably enrich those with new AJAX features using one the available libraries like rico, SAJAX or script.aculo.us. Well, there is yet another way. Some of you may have heard about Smalltalk and/or are using it. It's a nice language and at the company I work everybody is using it or, to be more precise, we do most of our stuff in Squeak, which is build and run with Smalltalk.
Soemirno Kartosoewito has started up a Smalltalk blog in Dutch, for all you Dutch speaking Smalltalkers.
Steve Gillmor says that TV is dead - the first paragraph is in reference to high end teleconferencing systems:
That's what this is about, tricking time, teleporting yourself across the country. We all wish Doc could actually enjoy his new house instead of rocketing off to Berkman one week a month. I could imagine the Gillmor Gang using the TelePort room from time to time. Remember that the next OS/X enables recording of iSight cons. It's on the way.
Meanwhile TV is dead. The kids still argue over carving out enough time to watch Heroes, the only consensus family show left alive.
Hmm. I think he has that very, very wrong. We have two ReplayTV devices, and a MediaCenter PC. They enable us to watch more of what we actually want to watch - the network cross programming games simply don't faze us anymore. There are plenty of great things on TV to watch, if you are so inclined. Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Heroes - tons of interesting things across the history, science, and discovery channels. My wife and daughter love the medical shows, for instance.
What's dying is the traditional advertising model. Time shifting and the 30 second skip are wreaking havoc there, and the business is in flux as a result. It's not going to go away though, and the sheer spread of niche programming - both on the net and on cable - has made the space more interesting, not less.
Larry O'Brien explains how he unit tested his way to solving a performance problem. This part of his exploration is something I've learned the hard way:
As the race condition clobbered more threads, though, the relative amount of time each remaining thread spent inside the critical section decreased! Eventually the system would degrade to one or two threads, providing the illusion that the system was “limping along.” And making me ass-u-me that the problem had to do with the database.
That last sentence is the key thing: Most of us don't guess the problem at all well. Tools - whether tests or profilers (or, more likely, both) - help us identify the real problems.
I take a live and let live attitude toward religion - my beliefs can probably best be described as agnostic, tending to notional Christianity. Richard Dawkins, on the other hand, has decided that any religious belief is not only incorrect, but should be stamped out. If he wants to evangelize atheism, that's fine - more power to him. This (from Wired) is the road to you know where, paved with intentions that I'm not sure how to classify:
"How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?" Dawkins asks. "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?"
Well, that's just great. He has his belief, which he cannot prove scientifically (he admits as much here):
"There's an infinite number of things that we can't disprove," he said. "You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it's wrong to say therefore we don't need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don't need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There's an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there's not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it."
Lacking an actual argument, he just goes ad homeneim. Great use of the scientific method there, dude. Based on the article, he seems to think that atheism will usher in a new age of reason, untainted by fanaticism. Here, he's pretty clear about that:
For the New Atheists, the problem is not any specific doctrine, but religion in general. Or, as Dawkins writes in The God Delusion, "As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers."
There was a movement that had that theory - perhaps Dawkins has heard of it. It worked out so well for the millions and millions of people sacrificed on that particular altar.
People like to believe in things. Remove deist belief, and that need won't go away - it will simply shift to some other kind of belief. Take a look at the far reaches of the environmental movement, for instance - if that's not secular religion, then nothing is. Dawkins has an abiding faith in the idea that "reason" can save people from fanaticism. History simply doesn't bear that out. The Soviet Communists and the German Nazis didn't kill for God - but kill they did. I fail to see how Dawkins' faith is any better than the people who walk my neighborhood handing out pamphlets. At the very least, they aren't trying to get children forcibly removed in order to teach them a "higher truth".
Ed Foster spots more excitement in the Vista EULA - the rules governing benchmarking, and what you can say about it:
But the bigger problem is the fact that the actual censorship restrictions for Windows Vista are, in classic sneakwrap fashion, dependent on what a particular webpage says at a particular moment. That in itself could have a chilling effect on what people can say about Vista. Consumers who don't even know what .NET Framework is will, if they want to make sure any public statements they make about Vista "comply with the conditions" of Microsoft's license, have to first decipher what that webpage means. And, of course, Microsoft could change the conditions at any time, so you'll have to check back anytime you make any more comments about Vista. Perhaps as written now it's OK for you to tell your neighbor over the back fence that Vista seems to take twice as long to boot up as MacOS XI, but what if Redmond changes the conditions at some point in the future to prohibit such activities?
The internal takeover by lawyers seems nearly complete up in Redmond. This happened at IBM, too - and they went through an awfully rough patch before they came out on the other side of that.