MetaCase’s MetaEdit Plus 4.5 isn’t based on UML. It’s a domain-specific modeling tool, said company CEO Juha-Pekka Tolvanen. MetaEdit Plus differs from UML offerings in that it models concepts “that are specific to a narrow area,” he said. For instance, instead of specifying an application in terms of classes, attributes and operations, as UML tools do, MetaEdit Plus specifies an application using concepts that are specific to that industry. “For the insurance industry, you could model an application in terms of damages, payment, risk and bonuses,” said Tolvanen, offering an example.
Technorati Tags: DSM
Google has finally updated Blogger - after years of neglect that allowed it to slip into being a huge spam farm. I haven't been keeping up with splog happenings, but I hope they paid some attention to that during the update.
I'd like to emphasize the not software part especially in light of Googler Steve Yegge's Ridiculous post who sprouted off for pages against Agile. He didn't know a thing about Agile which showed in his post - almost nothing he said was correct or substantiated. He glorified a cowboy egocentric coding style that is thankfully long gone from most companies. You get to do that when YOU DON'T BUILD REAL SOFTWARE and build glorified web sites that sell advertising that say "whoops" all the time. At least I know one company I'll never work for.
I gave a "webinar" this morning - the slides and audio will be appearing over here for people who register. I recorded the session (at least my end of it), and I'll be posting the audio from that in a few weeks (I want to give the site an exclusive for awhile).
I don't often agree with Dave Winer, but he has JSON nailed: what were the developers of that thinking? Just as XML formats have become somewhat standard, we needed to invent something different just for the heck of it? Here's the JSON format description - it's basically key value pairs, surrounded by curly braces and quotes. Yeah, I really want another parser in my application to bulk it up some more. Thanks.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
In this talk from day 2 of the conference, Uwe Liebold of AMD Dresden discussed the approach AMD takes to testing. It's a good talk on an interesting subject - AMD runs their chip wafer fabs with a Cincom Smalltalk application, and they have very short windows during the year during which they can update their code. You can see his slides here.
Giles Bowkett has some provocative things to say about software development:
But say that we know the average technology business is really kind of pathetic. Say further that the only difference between a company running Seaside, a company running Rails, and a company running PHP is that the Seaside company has huge balls, the Rails company has some balls, and the PHP company has no balls at all. That's got nothing to do with the godlike qualities of any particular language. All that tells you is that very few companies opt to use the best technology available to them. And unfortunately, anybody who has noticed that Microsoft exists already knew that.
The culture of technology businesses has a serious problem, which is that technology decisions are generally made by people who do not understand technological issues. But saying that the best languages somehow require godlike intelligence, when they are in fact simpler to use, more intuitive, and in one case designed for little kids, that's just silly. The difference between a Smalltalk programmer and a Java programmer isn't really located inside their brains at all. Look a little lower down. It's a difference at the scrotum level. One of these programmers has a scrotum, and one of them does not.
Heh. It's a fun read - and I agree with him.
I have no idea why Comcast is dragging their feet so much on the Tivo software rollout. Are there compatibility issues with the software and their installed base of boxes? Who knows? All we do know is that it's at least another year of swearing at the absolutely awful DVR interface they ship now:
Comcast first announced it would be using TiVo's software back in March 2005 and expected the majority of Comcast markets to be fitted with TiVo by mid-to-late 2006. However, only this month has Comcast began testing TiVo software on Motorola boxes with a handful of Comcast employees.
Comcast won't actually begin its first actual market trial until spring of next year and refused to comment on whether the TiVo service would be available to most Comcast subscribers by the end of next year.
The Comcast DVR is so bad that's I'd rather watch standard definition TV with the trusty ReplayTV. Yes, it sucks that bad...
I was perusing the latest Dr. Dobbs this evening, and ran into some information that generated some head smacking. I've complained about the Yahoo podcast directory not accepting my feed, and I just found out why - my feed was missing the requisite information.
As it happens, Yahoo has their own module - 'media' - which is a lot like the Apple 'itunes' one. I vaguely recall reading about that awhile back, but had long since forgotten. I went ahead and added the support to the server a few minutes ago, regenerated the podcast feed, and bam - Yahoo accepted my feed.
It looks like it'll be a day or two before it shows up, but that was the case with itunes as well. Yet another error that originated between the chair and the keyboard :)
Apparently the nefarious straps were engineering the whole thing, since GW LLP claims "Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand." Given the fact that the basic premise of these claims is a tad bit off (we're fairly certain those straps have been breaking after the Wiimote leaves the hand) and that Green Welling's main demand from Nintendo is that they replace the straps ( done and done ), we can't see this lawsuit getting too terribly far, but we suppose we'll have to wait and find out.
Where there's an ambulance, a greedy little moron with a law degree can't be too far behind...
Forget about the SOAP vs. REST debate for a second, since most of the world doesn’t care. Google’s search API let you send a search query to Google from your web site’s backend, get the results, then do anything you want with them: show them on your web page, mash them up with data from other sites, etc. The replacement, Google AJAX API, forces you to hand over part of your web page to Google so that Google can display the search box and show the results the way they want (with a few token user configuration options), just as people do with Google AdSense ads or YouTube videos. Other than screen scraping, like in the bad old days, there’s no way for you to process the search results programmatically — you just have to let Google display them as a black box (so to speak) somewhere on your page.
I feel stupid for having missed this yesterday, but one of the commenters on my post made the obvious point about that, which amounts to: "well, duh". To be more explicit, let me lift his comment out:
Never mind SOAP - I don't get how it could ever be in the interest of a search engine company to provide their technology through an interface that does not provide any way to earn them money. It would be one thing to offer such a service on a subscription basis, but I don't see any point of doing it without any way to recoup the cost.
Which explains the whole thing. Ask yourself: how does Google benefit (and no, warm fuzzies from developers don't count) by having an open API that anyone can use? It's a free lunch for any developer to ride on, and there's no real need to credit Google in any way. Meaning, there's no revenue there.
What an awful lot of people forget is that companies are not charities. Their purpose in life is to make money for their shareholders, not to make developers all happy about free stuff. Sometimes, those things overlap. In this case, it's very, very hard to see the overlap.
Here's Martin Kobetic's talk on SSL and Certificate management from day 2 of the users conference. He did his presentation using a Smalltalk presentation framework he uses, so there are no slides yet. We may be able to get a PDF rendering of them - if we do, I'll link to that when they arrive.
This is a good sign: Google is backing away from SOAP:
As of December 5, 2006, we are no longer actively supporting the SOAP Search API. We encourage you to use the AJAX Search API instead.
I really like the way this is described here:
It won't happen at once, it wont be overnight, but one day SOAP will be over. We will look back and wonder "what were we thinking". It will be up there with ActiveX, EJB2, and other things that we will describe as mistakes that should never have made it past the powerpoint stage.
The WWI reference is perhaps a bit overdone...
Doc Searls reposted something from a few years back, and it makes even more sense now than it did then: the legacy advertising model is utterly broken, and it's held up more by inertia than by anything else:
...imagine what would happen to the TV business if mute buttons delivered "we don't want to hear this" feedback directly to advertisers. It would crash the whole industry's business model in a heartbeat.
Let's face it: there are only two kinds of advertising demanded by their consumers: yellow pages and classifieds. It's not coincidental that they're both ugly. Beauty isn't a value when the only purpose is to answer the simple demand for useful information.
Changing the current model isn't going to be easy. Not only are there the (mostly useless) MarCom types to shove aside, there's also an entire business model. Consider professional sports, especially the big ones (here I'm focusing on the US): the NFL and the NBA. TV networks pay huge amounts of money for the broadcast rights. That money is paid back to the networks via advertising, and the outflow to the leagues pay the huge salaries.
Reconsidering that model is like being the little dutch boy who pulls his finger out of the dike. It's a seemingly small act, but the side effects are huge. Ultimately, sports should all go subscription. Most likely the rest of TV should, too. Getting from here to there is going to be an interesting thing to watch.
Technorati Tags: advertising
Alan Knight gave a presentation on Store at the users conference on Wednesday, December 6th. He laid out the current roadmap, including our plans for configuration management support. The matching slides are here; if you have questions or comments, please send them to me, James Robertson.
I'm sold. I was over at a friend's house this evening, and he introduced me to the Wii. What a great system! Sure, the graphics are better on the XBox 360 and the PS3; but that doesn't really matter. For me, the game play is everything, and that really came out in the Wii Sports game. The golf game was so much better than the GameCube (or PS2) one - you actually swing the Wii-mote to take the shots, and that makes it so much more fun.
I think Nintendo has a real hit on their hands. While MS and Sony fight over the same hard core fans, Nintendo is going to bring in a whole new set of casual gamers. After 30 minutes of Mario Kart, my hands hurt (GameCube). Same thing on an XBox or PS2 system (and the controllers on the new revs are the same). After 30 minutes of the Wii, I just wanted to play more :)
David, Michael, and I had a wide ranging discussion of design and code "smells" last night - in particular, those that strike developers using OO languages (and Smalltalk even more particularly). James Savidge's jobs report is there at the end, around minute 42 or so. We had a great conversation - hope you enjoy this one as much as we enjoyed doing it. For feedback and/or questions, send an email to email@example.com.
There's almost nothing that advocates won't say about open source - here's a good example of the triumphal school of thought:
So, for example, I take it for granted that open source will be as successful on the desktop as it has on the server - with the caveat that the desktop itself may well be far less important in ten years' time. I also assume that everyone will be using ODF as the standard for document interchange and storage, and that GNU/Linux will consolidate its growing success in the field of embedded systems.
The question you have to look at is this: which open source projects have succeeded in a large way without major corporate funding? That's suddenly a thin list, isn't it? Here's another thought: had Microsoft released Visual Studio as free software 10 years ago, that almost certainly would have been seen as predatory behavior. IBM released Eclipse for free, and it's killed off all the commercial Java IDEs out there. Sure, the source is available - but why isn't that seen as predatory? The net effect has been the same.
I'm not nearly as cheerful about OSS as I used to be, and it's due to the fact that OSS in the hands of large companies is a "get out of jail free" card for what would otherwise be seen as predatory behavior.
Scoble has found a soft spot in Google's ad model:
Did you realize that over on Naked Conversations, our book blog about corporate blogging, we can’t put Google ads on there?
Why not? Well when we tried Google ads we got a ton of porn advertising (we’re the #10 result for “naked” ). Yes, we’ve out SEO’d the porn industry, but that means we can’t take Google ads cause Google ads (unlike ads, from, say, FM Media) won’t let us choose which advertising we want on our pages. So, we removed the Google ad bar from our blog.
This is what Dave Winer and I were talking about this morning. We’re looking at a lot of Google advertising on Gmail, on blogs, on Web sites, and other places and we’re unimpressed. On the main search engine it makes a lot of sense (and is why probably 98% of Google’s revenues come from advertising on Google.com). But on blogs? On Gmail? On other components? It makes a lot lot less sense.
Not everything can fit into the fully automated bin - for some things, you need some human intervention. When trying to sell an ad model to a marketing department, the problems Scoble brings up are going to be a huge smack in the forehead. There are plenty of seams to fill in Google's strategy right now.
Technorati Tags: advertising
If we assume Microsoft's costs per employee are about $200,000 a year, the estimated payroll costs alone for Vista hover around $10 billion. This is incomprehensible. A CEO has no idea how much his most significant product in six years cost to build.
Then the other incomprehensible "tidbit" is that it cost at least $10 billion USD. And they did not even get a new operating system out of it. The new product is really a face lift and some bug fixes on an aging infrastructure.
I'm sure someone at MS knows what the cost was; they use that for tax purposes. It's got to be an ugly number though, and it's even uglier if you ask: "Is there a truly compelling reason to move from XP to Vista?"
Technorati Tags: windows
Bob Lewis highlights an all too common problem in corporations: turf battles that involve IT:
I find myself in the midst of a turf war. The president of the company is battling the CIO over the issue of who should control the website. The president says it belongs in the Marketing department, the CIO says it belongs in IT.
Sometimes this is just a plain turf battle, and other times it's a sign of a much bigger problem: IT's real or perceived inability to execute. When business units start managing their own IT infrastructure, it's usually not because they have a real hankering for doing that; rather, it's because the IT department is seen as being incapable. That only leads to bigger internal turf battles - but the root probloem remains unsolved. Lewis gets to that issue here:
To the extent that the scope of the website encompasses areas beyond marketing, other areas also have content responsibilities - shareholder relations and recruiting being two of the most common. Another thought, that stems from the first, is that your president's thought process also worries me. He/she is making a common mistake - making a decision about organizational alignment based on the existence of a performance problem instead of fixing the problem. What I'm trying to say is that If IT isn't performing, keeping the website away from it still leaves the company with an IT organization that isn't performing.
Which points back to a general management failure. If business units won't utilize IT, that's a probably a sign that IT is broken. If management won't deal with that reality - and instead just tries to band-aid it by distributing responsibility (or allowing that distribution to take place) - then the root problem remains, and is a sucking chest wound for the entire organization. I suspect that this is a problem for an awful lot of companies.
Time for the weekly look at the logs - BottomFeeder downloads went at a rate of 166 per day (plus the 24 per day I'm getting from the CNet site - all Windows, that one). The details:
Who knew there were seven Dec Alpha users without an RSS reader? Anyway - off to the HTML page stats:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Back to my normal distribution between Mozilla and IE; the traffic spike I had has fallen back to normal - and the distro has gone back with it. Finally, the syndication stats:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||7.1%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||6.5%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
No end of tool diversity there
Vista Smalltalk is descended from a Lisp interpreter that I started working on several years ago. I switched to Smalltalk syntax when the kernel was finally able to support messaging and dynamic object creation.
Now, I have begun re-integrating the Lisp reader and some built-in functions back into the Vst package. The lisp capabilities include basic functions such as “apply”, “mapcar”, “dolist”, “dotimes” and “eval” as well as macro expansion complete with “backquote”, “comma” and “at-comma” forms.
Kind of like peanut butter and chocolate :)
Technorati Tags: lisp
Slashdot asks "Why does everyone hate Microsoft?".
Hate is way too strong a word, I think. For an awful lot of people, it's simply a matter of seeing faults in the biggest player on the field. IBM attracted a fair bit of dislike back when they were the big guy on the block; MS is getting that now. Of course, like IBM back then, they don't help themselves much either. Consider:
- WGA: The activation scheme in Vista has the ability to disable your PC until you contact MS. Given the false positive problem, this is a PR problem waiting to get bigger
- Paying blood money to the RIAA: MS is big enough that they could have held the line with the Zune. Instead, they went along with the extortionists at the RIAA. A negative PR event was enjoyed by all
- Patch schedules: Patches to serious bugs? Monthly. Problems with DRM? Addressed immediately. Along with the above, it starts to make you wonder whether the studios have incriminating photos of someone high up the food chain at MS.
- PVP-OPM: Watch your legally owned content on any device you own? Not in Vista; again, MS sucked up to Hollywood.
For an influential company, they sure act like they are powerless in front of the studios. Most people's negative feelings come more from the constant security problems you get with Windows, along with the way you get bit rot over time. The stuff above doesn't help though; it shows a big company getting progressively stupider over time.
In today's Smalltalk Daily, we pick up where we left off yesterday, and add a GUI to the ObjectStudio client. This allows us to enter a misspelled word on Windows, make an St-St call over to VW on the Mac, and have the Mac send back the corrected spelling after a Google WS* invocation.
Another Enterprise Architect discusses why large enterprises no longer focus on productivity as there are many things much more important nowadays. I guess this leaves the Ruby on Rails and Smalltalk folks thinking we are enterprisey but in all reality, they need to start paying attention to forces that drive our economy or be doomed to derail
When you start thinking that trivia is more relevant than work, you've reached enterprisey nirvana. Filing reports may keep the regulators happy, but it won't pay any bills, or make customers happy. Somewhere along the way, an awful lot of people forgot that.
This session from December 6th has Jochen Eckert explaining the RUT-K scheduling software built for Deutsche Bahn in Germany. There was an associated demo of the software, but I think this came across fairly well. You can find the slides here (PDF)
Suddenly and shockingly, Belgium came to an end. State television broke into regular programming late Wednesday with an urgent bulletin: The Dutch-speaking half of the country had declared independence and the king and queen had fled. Grainy pictures from the military airport showed dark silhouettes of a royal entourage boarding a plane.
Only after a half hour did the station flash the message: "This is fiction."
It was too late. Many Belgians had already fallen for the hoax.
I was able to find time (in between audio editing - ugh) for a Smalltalk Daily. In today's screencast, we create a VW server which makes a Google API call via WS*, and an ObjectStudio client which requests spell checks from the VW server. As with the last cast, this shows interop between our two Smalltalks, and across platforms.
Mike Arrington (with other tech bloggers) met with Bill Gates recently, and posted on the meeting. Sounds like MS is starting to realize that DRM is a mistake (makes me wonder: is the royalty to the studios actually an attempt to buy a way out of DRM?). Anyway - that potential realization is good news. This was precious though - one of the things Arrington noted about the meeting:
Seeing the look on Gates’ face when he walked into the room and every single one of us had a Mac open on the desk in front of us - Niall Kennedy had also set up a makeshift wifi network using an Airport
At conferences, there are always a disproportionate number of Macs. Makes me wonder what the market numbers will look like in 2-3 years.
Ralf Ehret of SAP Labs and Taylan Kraus-Wippermann of Heeg followed Mr. Roggenkemper's keynote with a a discussion of how Cincom Smalltalk and NetWeaver can interoperate. There was a demo in the middle of this, which showed the WS* communication. That part was not a whole lot different from the screencast I did hooking up VW to the Google API.
Gordon Weakliem notes that CAPTCHA is failing as a spam stopper - and that turning comments off for older posts is the best medecine:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the only effective deterrent against weblog comment defacement is to disallow comments on posts older than a month. Sam Ruby's system seems to be effective as well, though IIRC that's a multifaceted system - forcing preview, throttling comments from a single IP, probably other things that I don't remember at the moment.
I go further; I turn comments off for any post that's off the front page (and thus, out of the feed). I can track problems as they occur that way. There are people who've been dismayed by this, but hey - it's simply part of the damage caused by the baser elements out there on the web.