I always thought this guy didn't get OOP, and this post just proves that point.
PC Mag is another. I have a free sub but it goes in the trash
Yeah, there's a way to win friends and influence people :) You thought it was easy to lay eggs on a blog? Things like Twitter make it even easier for a passing thought to cause trouble. Today, Rubel did respond to the criticism.
Bill Hibbs rounds up the aftershocks from the JL Kirk and Associates mess, and points out how eminently predictable it all was. From a quoted story by Brittney Gilbert:
I have never seen a move as ham-handed and wrong-headed as the one made by JL Kirk Associates and their attorney(s). I have sat back and watched in sheer amazement as this transparent and completely obvious attempt to bully a blogger has backfired a thousand times, over and over and over again. It's been fantastic and fascinating to watch.
There was nothing in Coble's account that even closely resembles libel or "false and defamatory statements." Not unless you think a negative film or restaurant review counts as the the same.
Pretty much says it all. Next time I do the presentation recorded here, I'll be using this mess as my primary example of what not to do.
Since C was first invented, other programming languages have found it necessary to interface to C libraries. Smalltalk is no different and yet after more than 27 years we're still struggling to adequately interface with it. Every Smalltalk implementation provides a mechanism for interfacing with C and they all have their quirks. We will discover how the different Smalltalk implementations try to solve the C interface conundrum and how other languages try to solve the same problem. We will explore the quirks and tricks of interfacing with C from VisualWorks by examples collected over the last 6 years pf interfacing with various open source C libraries. We will also delve in to the many tips and tricks that have been learned over the years when interfacing Smalltalk with C across different Smalltalk implementations. Other programming interfaces to other languages such as COM and Cincoms .NET connect will be explored as well. We will also look at how Smalltalk can better interface with C in the coming years, and why it is still relevant in modern computing
See you in Toronto!
A panel of judges at the Copyright Royalty Board has denied a request from the NPR and a number of other webcasters to reconsider a March ruling that would force Internet radio services to pay crippling royalties. The panel's ruling reaffirmed the original CRB decision in every respect, with the exception of how the royalties will be calculated. Instead of charging a royalty for each time a song is heard by a listener online, Internet broadcasters will be able pay royalties based on average listening hours through the end of 2008.
The judges hearing the case had wax clogging their ears:
The judges were unmoved by the webcasters' arguments. "None of the moving parties have made a sufficient showing of new evidence or clear error or manifest injustice that would warrant rehearing," wrote the CRB in its decision. "To the contrary... most of the parties' arguments in support of a rehearing or reconsideration merely restate arguments that were made or evidence that was presented during the proceeding."
Umm, yeah - they said "this ruling will put us out of business". Which part of that was hard to understand? The net-net of this? No revenue stream for the labels from this direction, because the dollar signs are too big. That's probably what the music labels want, because they think they can cap off the net, and force things back to the business model they are familiar with. What it really means is that the major labels have just cordoned themselves off from the internet, and ensured that a new set of businesses will take over that space, charging reasonable amounts of money to air artists who won't be signing with the major labels.
If you live near Toronto, this may be of interest to you:
For those attending the Beach Outings Club tomorrow there will be a raffle (determined by a 20-sided die) for free registration to the Smalltalk Solutions conference. I didn't say the show. I said the conference. This retails for ... a lot. It's thanks to show management at http://www.it360.ca
Since some of you don't live in The Annex in Toronto, if you want to be represented by proxy for this raffle, then send an email to dynamicword
hotmail.com with the subject line "BOC Raffle".
However, given the weather in the northeastern US and Canada right now, I wouldn't dress for the beach :)
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
The PR work for the marketing department at Sony will never be done - not when they have to explain why Sony DVDs won't play in Sony DVD players:
In their zeal to make their DVD movies copyproof (yeah right) they have in fact made their latest releases unplayable on some DVD players, including my Sony DVP-CX995V DVD player. I recently rented “Stranger than Fiction” (2 copies) and “The Holiday” ( please no comments on my choice of movies) both by Sony Pictures. Both load up to the splash title screen and then load no further, then after about 60 secs the player turns itself off!
ALL my other DVD’s and new releases from other movie companies play perfectly
Looks like I won't be buying - or even renting - any Sony DVDs anytime soon - especially given this kind of "tech support":
Sony Tech: We know about this problem. Its our new copy protection that’s making these discs unplayable in some players including our own, we do not intend to change the copy protection. The only correction to this problem is a firmware update to your player. The electronics division know about this and should have given you this information.
Me: OK send me the firmware update.
Sony Tech: We do not have one as yet.
So here's a question for the bright guys at Sony: Will this even slow down the dedicated pirates - you know, the ones who rip off movies and sell knock-off DVDs on the street? Not one bit, no. Will it irritate the crap out of your paying customers who are buying your hardware and software, and then finding out that they don't work together? Furthermore, will their first thought be something like "gee, my Sony DVD player must be broken - better run down and buy a new (non-Sony) player"?
You just have to marvel at the thought process that brings this kind of thing to market.
I'd take James McGovern more seriously if he realized that it's spelled Smalltalk (lower case t). Perhaps he's just a simple EnterPrise ArchiTect though, and I should keep my expectations lower.
I'll have the daily screencast up later - I am waiting for some car repair work to get done while I'm at Starbucks, so I can't really record the audio. The screenshot portion is all set though; I'll have a brief segment up about using TriggerEvents later today.
Nick Carr is overly worried about Google:
But it's when you look beyond advertising, to the broader economic ecosystem that's coming to define the way traffic and money flow through the consumer internet, that the Google-DoubleClick deal becomes more interesting, and troublesome, from an antitrust perspective. Google is not only the dominant player in the ad-serving market (and would see its dominance expand greatly by adding DoubleClick's dominant banner-ad business), but is also the dominant player in the web searching market, controlling somewhere between 48% and 64% of that business (depending on whose data you believe). It has also, through its recent YouTube acquisition, seized a dominant share of the burgeoning market for the delivery of video online. Combined with Google Video, YouTube controls 55% of that market, according to Compete, while its nearest competitor, MySpace, holds just 15%. Google's dominance in all these areas, moreover, seems to be increasing, suggesting that all these markets may have winner-takes-all characteristics.
Here's another, simpler possibility for Nick: maybe they have better products and better marketing. I'll wait while Nick tries to wrap his head around that idea.
I guess if the win was at my back, this might make for a good day to hit a long tee shot - assuming I could keep my grip on the club:
Local weather on the radio said that the wind advisory is being upgraded at 11 - we could start seeing gusts over 60 mph. Yay.
SAP NetWeaver provides very productive Business Modeling Capabilities, if the business model in questions fits well into the standard SAP NetWeaver models. When it comes to business tasks outside these standard models the productivity falls way behind. In these white spaces Cincom Smalltalk plays a surprisingly strong role providing adaptable flexible solutions. In a second part the presentation demonstrates the connectivity and integration of Cincom Smalltalk in SAP NetWeaver.
See you in Toronto!
MTA digs up some interesting coincidences between JL Kirk and Associates and a few defunct businesses with exactly the same business model, and exactly the same operating locations.
Hmm. I wonder if JL Kirk will get "bought out" and "replaced" with another recruiting firm with eery similarities soon?
Sportswriter Joe Sheehan introduces a column on pitching in modern baseball this way:
You can’t open a newspaper, a magazine or a browser without reading a complaint about starting pitchers. Complete games are at a historic low, the quality-start statistic has purists up in arms and the idea of pitch counts sends many people into convulsions.
I've wondered about the tyranny of pitch counts and the lack of complete games myself - but Sheehan explains that pitching isn't the same as it used to be:
Consider the change that has occurred since the start of Blyleven’s career. In 1970, when he made his debut with the Minnesota Twins, the American League’s second basemen had a slugging percentage of .332; the catchers .391; the shortstops .347. The league averages at those spots last year were .395, .417 and .412.
As much as I hate the designated hitter rule, it's more than that, and the problem exists in the National League as well. The reality is, there are simply more good hitters out there, and the lower mound (dating from 1969) has made it even more difficult. I don't buy the argument that there are more teams, so good pitching is harder to come by - if that were true, the league would also be full of light hitting shortstops. I think Sheehan has it pegged.
I see this kind of thing (on a variety of subjects) a fair amount:
Just some thoughts about BOSS. I find it useful but can't find further tutorials other than VW manual.
If a Windows guy like Sam Gentile is this irritated by Vista, something is wrong.
Late January and February were cold, but I'm ok with winter being cold. March pretty much sucked too, but it's mid April now; where's my golf weather?
Not what I was looking forward to at all :/
When I need to run applications in crowded, power-constrained data centers, every CPU cycle counts. Supporting thousands of simultaneous users takes a lot of boxes, even more so when I have to consider performance numbers like these. Ruby zealots should be particularly embarrassed; the language has been out almost as long as Python and that's the best it can do? And as for Smalltalk, at least make a middle-aged language go as fast as that other middle-aged language: Lisp. I'd even be more confident recommending Smalltalk if it were as zippy as C# Mono. Sure, we enterprisey types are the target of a lot of cheap shots (and even get a rare chance to take one) but, when a new data center costs $25 million to build and we have to consider the cost of power in KWhs where pennies make a big difference, feature development time becomes irrelevant vs. the year-over-year operating cost of those apps on a large scale.
Simple question for Bill: Will your application have the kind of scaling needs that Twitter (written in Ruby) does? The answer is no, of course. Beyond the initial scaling issues they had, has Twitter stayed online? Why, yes. So are your issues above complete BS?
Technorati Tags: scaling
Computer Aided Design, Simulation and Manufacturing is rapidly becoming the norm in industry. The software complexity involved is best handled by pure object oriented programming languages and environments like Smalltalk for greater programming productivity and maintainability. Based on this conviction, the author used Smalltalk to create a motion simulator in 1992, which he later commercialized as part of Dynamic Designer Motion. Since then he has developed more simulators with more CAD capabilities like freeCAD and CADSM all in Smalltalk. His simulator is currently the basis of Alibre Motion which is a feature of a popular CAD called Alibre Design. Most engineering-scientific programs are developed with procedural or hybrid programming methods because of legacy issues. The author will show how Smalltalk had provided him the programming capability to develop the GUI, geometric domain, multibody dynamics, symbolic math, matrix algebra and solvers, Newton-Raphson root finder, DAE and ODE solvers, and interfaces to other CAD systems.
See you bin Toronto!
I have no problem with the grand theory behind Google's latest anti-spam directions, as revealed by Matt Cutts:
The problem with the first one? Well, consider blogs, comments, and spam. Unless you turn comments off, it's fairly easy to end up with hidden links in a spam comment until you notice it and yank it down. Sure, you can add checking for that sort of thing - but any check will have holes. It could be even worse for a Wiki though. I've seen hidden links worm their way into the VW Wiki, and only noticed them by accident. I think Google needs to be careful about enforcement here, or a lot of innocent sites could get snagged.
Paid links can get even dicier, when you look into it. Yes, PayPerPost is the obvious "bad boy" of this genre of links. But what about standard business practices? If company X is my partner, and part of our contractual arrangement is to share links on specific pages, does that count as paid? It might, depending on how you classify it. There are plenty of gray areas in that category, so if Google wants to deal with them, there better be guidelines.
In this week's podcast, we talked about Smalltalk memory management and tuning - mostly specific to VisualWorks (and the upcoming ObjectStudio 8), but Michael did add a few details about VisualAge Smalltalk to the discussion. The conversation ranged over the way memory management works in VW to tuning memory parameters. Hope you enjoy it - feel free to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org, or head on over to Podcast Alley and leave a review or vote.
Things just keep getting worse and worse for JL Kirk and their law firm, King & Ballow. Follow the link, and look at the chart Bill Hobbs posted - it's a Negative PR Event defined in pictures.
Technorati Tags: marketing
Smalltalk has been a uniquely ideal programming language for the development of an application used within IBM R&D labs for designing and characterizing semiconductor test structures. DMACS (Design Manager And Characterization System) is an enterprise database application and a Test and Measurement controller which collects data from test systems. This presentation will provide an overview of why Smalltalk is ideal for the Test Systems/Fabrication Automation industry and provide a comparison with other languages and applications, including Visual Basic, Java, C, Matlab, LabView, and IC-CAP. Mark will identify improvements and additions to Smalltalk which would be made in the future to further enrich this wonderful engineering environment. These include engineering charting tools, native Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), light-weight scripting (not headless--keep the head, lose the body!), Matlab data format support, and more/better graphic image, video, and sound support.
See you in Toronto!
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Time for the weekly look at the logs - BottomFeeder downloads went at a rate of 274/day last week. The details:
On to the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
Over all HTML page access stayed about the same, which is likely why Firefox' numbers are high - my normal readership leans that way. When traffic rises, it gets more balanced with respect to IE. Last: the RSS tool distribution:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||5.2%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||4.6%|
I find it fascinating that IE hits so high on the syndication requests, but lower than Mozilla on the HTML ones.
JL Kirk and Associates, and their equally clueless law firm, King & Ballow, must be wondering how deep the hole they've dug themselves is going to get - a Nashville TV news story hit YouTube this morning. Any damage they thought a lonely blog post might do them has now been multiplied by a huge number.
Meanwhile, the publicity generated by this has also brought other bad experiences with JL Kirk and Associates to the attention of everyone. Whoever thought this was a good idea should get axed, and their replacement should start with a public apology to the Cobles. This is no longer about the blog post specifically; it's now an existential question for JL Kirk. I did an entire podcast on that kind of problem here.
I personally would like to see fresh developers spend a year or two writing unit tests. Learning to break code and learning to thoroughly test before they were ever allowed to write stand alone code. The result would be better, well tested code code and developers who understood what testing took and knew how to do it.
I really hate when folks throw out suggestions such as the stuff above as it can't ever possibly happen due to economic reasons. Do you see any company regardless of their size (except possibly a software company) hiring a fresh developer and then not allowing them to code for a couple of years and only writing test cases? I wonder if folks ever acknowledge that the vast majority of software is not written by software vendors but by enterprises attempting to maintain code specific to their industry vertical?
It kind of depends on what you want. Do you want poorly working software out the back end that's hard to use and hard to maintain? Then keep doing things the way you are now. You want something that works better? Consider that advice, and see if there's any way to adapt it. Simply throwing rocks at it as "impractical" is foolish.
Most large firms have maintenance staff and development staff. An easy modification would be to rotate new hires through maintenance for a period of time before you let them loose on new stuff. Heck, it might not be a bad idea to rotate seasoned developers through support for awhile - I've thought about rotating staff through external consulting every so often simply to ensure that they retain some basic contact with "the real world".
The immediately dismissive hand waving would be a good thing to stop.
Technorati Tags: development
With the latest damage caused by patent law here in the US, I think it's time to step back and ask a basic question: are patents now doing more damage than harm? The Vonage case is just the latest example of patent law being used to shutdown a competitor (without regard to prior art questions). There's also the entire (and utterly absurd) area of "business process" patents (like Amazon's One-Click Patent). I think it's time to look further than reform - we need to step back and ask whether the patent system we have is hurting us more than it's helping
Technorati Tags: patents
Speaking of PR mistakes, it looks like the news just keeps getting worse for JL Kirk and Associates. David St. Lawrence notes that the all too predictable Google Bombing has taken place, and - worse - a negative Better Business Bureau report on the company has now become prominent (follow the first link to see that). Instead of being locked in a cabinet in the basement, it's now out there for everyone to see. And hey - not only is the news bad for JL Kirk, but now the law firm - King & Ballow - have managed to cover themselves in negativity as well.
Law firms used to be able to intimidate people into silence with these kinds of tactics, but the power isn't solely on their end any longer. The only thing left to speculate on is this: how long before JL Kirk and King & Ballow throw in the towel, and decide to stop taking broadsides at close range? Damage like this, from Lamplighter:
Demand letters are often the most effective way of remedying a problem without having to go through the trouble and expense of litigation. However, before sending a demand letter one should (1) determine that there is an actual legal basis for the demand and (2) determine whether it would be counterproductive to send the letter. Here it appears that both J.L. Kirk and Mr. Korpady ignored these two little questions. As a result, instead of the bad publicity (which was earned) being limited to a single blog, J.L. Kirk & Associates, King & Ballow, and Mr. Korpady have become the poster children for anti-free speech, bullying, abuse of the legal system, and poor legal analysis. Not a reputation I would want.
I think we can safely say that this particular move was not good for future business.
You’ll never build a successful site if you build to scale from day 1, scaling is always a catch up game, but it’s the best game there is.
That's been my experience with this site - which I'll admit, doesn't get anything like the traffic that the big guys get :) However, I do get a lot more than I did back in the summer of 2002 when I started - and I've learned what to do (and what not to do) the only way I could - by example
Technorati Tags: web
The CairoGraphics Project is an OpenDesktop project that is a ...2D graphics library with support for multiple output devices. It's gaining momentum rapidly as a cross platform way of doing modern anti-aliased graphics for multiple backends. Bindings exist for many different languages and toolsets, including GTK+, Ruby, and Python. This presentation is an overview of the language binding for Smalltalk, specifically VisualWorks. Attendees will leave with a general understanding of the general drawing model, how that is mapped in Smalltalk, as well as some of the techniques used to interface with the library.
See you in Toronto!
Peter Fisk on the IBM experiment with the PC Jr:
My theory is that is was probably a deliberate strategy to stratify the marketplace into “gaming computers” for the home and “business computers” for the office. The keyboard design of the PC Jr guaranteed that it would never be used for either word processing or data entry, which were two markets that IBM dominated at the time.
Which leads to a Microsoft comparison:
My feeling is that they are following IBM’s defensive strategy from 20 years ago and that WPF/e is a marketing move, like the PC Jr., whose real purpose is to divide the marketplace. They are trying to engineer WPF/e so that it is good enough to be popular, but not good enough to be a threat to their established lines of business. Which explains why it is taking so long.
Peter has spent a long time playing in the WPF/.NET playground, so I think he's got a good perspective on this.
I've made the point that's explained very well here: the music industry is painfully moving away from the album model and back to the singles model:
As you can see from the chart above [ed: follow the link], legal downloads are expected to continue their growth, but not at a rate that will be able to make up for the decline in CD sales. Although sales of a single track online arguably cost less for the record company due to the lack of physical distribution costs, the fact that music fans are picking their favorite songs from albums instead of buying the whole disc eats away at the advantages of digital distribution from a revenue standpoint.
The labels don't like it, but the business is shifting out from under them. Rather than fight the future with DRM and lawsuits, they should try to adapt.
Technorati Tags: management
Andres reminds us that there's still time to sign up for the Coding Contest:
Just a bit more than 12 hours to go until the contest starts. This is your last chance to register! If you'd like to participate, send me an email here. You can see the full details of the contest in this previous post.
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we look at reading the Windows registry. As an example, we grab the available proxy server information so as to save the user a few keystrokes.
In case the folks at JL Kirk and Associates were wondering why their tactics against the Coble's were a bad idea - check out the top of Google blog search (and the same thing is happening to the Google search results already) for JL Kirk.
The first 10 results are bad news for JL Kirk and Associates - what their legal team probably thought was a quick slap down on a "little guy" who couldn't fight back has now become a major PR problem for them - and moreover, one that won't go away soon - try a search for WKPA and see how their first page of results look - the first hit on them is negative, even now, nearly a year after they dropped their suit.
This session will discuss the current state of Instantiations, VA Smalltalk and new features included in VA Smalltalk 7.5 such as the Refactoring Browser, the SUnit Browser, ENVY/QA, Windows Vista support, etc. Future development plans for version 8.0 and beyond will also be discussed. VA Smalltalk V7.5 enables software developers to create highly portable, scaleable, multi-tier business applications using object-oriented technology. VA Smalltalk allows for incremental and rapid development of new Smalltalk applications. Developers can build and deploy enterprise Web service solutions for dynamic e-business using VA Smalltalk.
See you in Toronto!
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Remember when the clowns at Warren Kremer Paino Advertising worked with a State of Maine office to sue a Maine blogger, in an attempt to shut him up? Well, it seems that the kind of stupidity behind that instinct is still alive and well. Last week, a Tennessee blogger raised the hackles of a placement firm. The blogger maintains that JL Kirk and Associates offered to "grease the skids" on job placement if he paid them $4000 - he and his wife decided that was sleazy, and blogged about it.
Well, that got the law side of the house at JL interested - they sent a cease and desist threat to sue - and that promptly got blogged. There's a good summary of this at the " Captains Quarters " blog, including this:
Well, now we have both sides of the story. I have no direct knowledge of which side is telling the truth. Coble could be lying and perhaps defamed JL Kirk Associates. However, let's ask a couple of questions about this:
1. Are you, the CQ reader who looks at both communications, likely to believe JL Kirk or Katherine Coble? Given the nature of both communications (read Katherine's posts!), which sounds more likely to be true?
2. Given that even a fairly moderate criticism (even if unreasonable) of JL Kirk prompted this 16-ton legal approach, would any of you be tempted to do business with them?
3. Did anyone at JL Kirk or King & Ballow, JLK's legal representatives, ever consider that issuing this kind of threat amounted to throwing gasoline on a lit match? Did any of them understand the blogosphere at all? And given that level of cluelessness, would CQ readers do business with either firm?
The full text of the take-down letter - which also gives JL Kirk and Associate's side of the story - is here. Here's the problem - it used to be that the corporate entity held all the cards here. Now, that's no longer the case. The Coble's have gotten a lot of publicity for this, and none of it has been good for JL Kirk and Associates. What they've failed to realize is that legal action of this sort is no longer simply legal action - it's part of a company's PR and marketing. As such, when you pull out the "big gun" of a lawsuit threat, you had better be sure that the facts line up your way in both a legal sense and in a PR sense - or you could end up - as WKP did - with a phyrric victory at best, and an embarrassing PR black mark regardless.
With the Swallow client deployed, I figured it might be worth mentioning two things I learned about deploying a Widgetry based application. I've brought them up before, but it's worth mentioning again, in one place. So - say you've built your Widgetry based UI, and you are using Runtime Packager to package it. Step one:
The important point here is "Action on last window close" - you want to set that to "Continue processing". Why? Well, RTP is not (at present) aware of Widgetry, so when your first window opens at startup, the runtime manager notices that there are no UIs open - and promptly quits. So - implement a method in your UI that does this:
When you need to quit. Second, your application will likely use Widgetry dialogs, with class DialogUserInterface. Well, when you confirm/cancel a dialog, the Runtime system again notices that there are no Windows present (again, it's not aware of Widgetry) - so it quits. What you need to do there is create a noWindowBlock:
WindowManager noWindowBlock: [:mgr | true].
That just tells the runtime system to move along and ignore the "no window" state. Mind you, as Widgetry moves into deployment, these issues will get fixed by our engineers. If you are doing "bleeding edge" development though, it's useful testing information.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Yes, this does describe a common tendency - although there ought to be a "drink coffee" box on there somewhere :)
We still watch "Lost", but I have to tell you - we have been liking it less and less. The focus on "the others" has been annoying, simply due to the fact that they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I mean seriously - when you see a plane crash, what sort of person is it whose first thought is "let's go screw with their heads"? Apparently, we aren't the only ones up in arms - John Podhoretz has a great take on this at "The Corner":
Trust me. Lost can't "unjump the shark." It's over, and viewers have figured it out, which is why it's lost 40 percent of its audience over the course of this year. The show's central gimmick has been to lay out a mystery, leave it unresolved, then go on to layer a new one on top of an old one. There are, I think, at least 20 pieces of plot that have been left out there to rot. For you fans, they include: What happened to Michael and Walt? How did Eko's plane from Africa end up on the island? Why did the Smoke Monster kill Eko? And on and on and on. You just can't do this to an audience. It's a giant con game, and eventually the people you're trying to con get wise and turn on you with savage anger.
Ultimately, I think it's like "The X-Files" - the writers don't actually have a grand plan, or - worse - the one they have is deeply stupid, and they've come to realize that themselves.
VisualWorks contains standard widgets to allow you to see and manipulate simple data but when your data starts to become complex it's hard to see everything and how it's organized. The Business Graphics package can help you see some kinds of data but doesn't allow you to interact with your data. In this talk, I present a few techniques to see and interact with complex data. A histogram control lets you see how your data collects into groups. A hyperbolic graph viewer shows large networks by laying them out in 4D hyperbolic space and projecting them onto a unit sphere giving a fish-eye lens view of your network. A map control lets you visualize geographic based data and a time selection control allows you to see and edit temporal information. Although the code presented in this talk is proprietary and can't be released, I will show some of the implementation and optimization techniques to allow you to create similar controls yourself.
See you in Toronto!
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
James McGovern correctly notes that many companies are happy to use free software (the open source aspect is secondary, IMHO), and not worry that much about support issues:
Too much of the discussion around open source has been centered around software vendors and paid support models. The assumption is that enterprises won't go it alone in terms of using software without someone providing a holding hand. The funny thing is that many enterprises are doing just that. Ask yourself how many enterprises use Eclipse? Then ask yourself how many enterprises pay for support for Eclipse? Once an enterprise starts getting a taste of what it means to support themselves then the economic model changes significantly towards something more positive. The real question if folks can understand positive may not come from the perspective of a software vendor but it can benefit large enterprises in an economically sound way.
What he's not pointing out is that Eclipse is backed by a large vendor (IBM), which is a large part of the reason why people are comfortable about it. It's easy to be happy with free software that is being continually improved; the harder question is what companies would do if IBM decided that Eclipse wasn't worth whatever it is they spend on it. Right now, Eclipse is a loss leader for IBM's paid software; as with any loss leader, if IBM decides that it's not pulling people over to the paid side, the seeming altruism will come to an end.
At the end of the day, stuff has to be paid for - development machines, bandwidth, and - more than anything else - people. There's only so much forward progress that happens without a paid staff of developers.
Technorati Tags: management
Turns out Heinlein was right: There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Today's lesson comes from MySpace:
Today MySpace made the decision to prevent Photobucket users from posting their videos and remixes to their MySpace pages.
This action by MySpace means that all of the videos and remixes you created will no longer show up on your MySpace profile, blog and comments section. More specifically, if you attempt to add new videos or remixes to your profile, they will be removed.
As Scoble notes, this is ultimately a business decision: MySpace is not in the altruism business. Information may want to be free, but someone has to pay the utility bills.
Andres writes about the first round of the coding contest, which begins this Friday - and runs through April 22nd:
The exciting time when everything starts is coming. As soon as this Friday begins according to Pacific Standard Time, I will put some files in an FTP server. Ten days will go by, and then three finalists will be selected to compete in a follow up blitz round at Smalltalk Solutions.
Full details on round 1 can be found here.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
DLS 2007 invites high quality papers reporting original research, innovative contributions or experience related to dynamic languages, their implementation and application. Accepted Papers will be published in the OOPSLA conference companion and the ACM Digital Library.
It's a positive sign to see so much interest in dynamic languages!
Sadly, I can't attend ESUG this year (my daughter's school schedule conflicts) - but it sounds like a great conference, and Cincom will have folks there:
For the 15th consecutive year, ESUG is organizing its International Smalltalk Conference in Lugano, Switzerland next august. Beside giving talks, submitting your software to the awards, and attending the conference, you can support ESUG action by pushing your companies to sponsor the event. Three packages are available:
- Silver ESUG Sponsor: By paying € 500 per year, the logo of your company/association is displayed during the ESUG conference. You are entitled to mention that you are an ESUG sponsor, and to use the ESUG logo in that context.
- Gold ESUG Sponsor: By paying € 1000 per year, you get all of the above, and you are also recognized as a sponsor on our ESUG website http://www.esug.org. ESUG correspondence and distributions (CD, Documentation) will also feature your logo. You also get a 10% fee reduction on the ESUG events for up to 5 people of your organisation.
- Platinum ESUG Sponsor: By Paying € 2000 per year, you get all of the above, but you get a 20% fee reduction on the ESUG events for up to 10 people of your organisation.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Doc Searls makes a lot of good points on the issues the newspaper business has with the web - and notes that they have the value proposition wrong on new/old stuff:
That division is roughly between what I call "the news" and "the olds". The irony here is that papers charge for the news and give away the olds in print (the olds being fishwrap and recycling fodder), while they do exactly the opposite online. So they compete with themselves in both areas. Specifically, by giving away daily editorial online, they undermine street and subscription sales; and by charging for archival editorial, they remove their goods from the vast reference library that Google and other search engines have become. What papers that do this are saying, essentially, is that the news has sales value in itself (instead serving as free bait for advertising - a model borrowed from commercial broadcasting and all those free papers piled up outside coffee shops and restaurants), while the olds is worth $2.50 per story.
There are researchers who will pay that $2.50, but very few. Why the news media thinks it's worth getting a few nickels for that (while the new stuff that we care about is free) is a mystery. What they ought to be doing is outlined above: Make the old stuff available (so that Google, et. al. can give them more authority) - and use AdSense on both the old and new stuff to bring in some actual revenue.
Like the RIAA and the MPAA, the newspaper guys are stuck in a different era, and are having trouble finding their way out.
Technorati Tags: newspapers
One of the biggest observations I have noted amongst my peers is that none of them have ever bothered to attend a conference in the UK. It seems though that many folks from Europe have attended US conferences though. Likewise, it seems as if UK based conferences never bother seeking out US based speakers with any frequency with the exception of John Zachman and Donald Tapscott. I haven't spoken at a conference outside of the United States since 2003. Maybe I am long overdue and simply awaiting another invite.
Fascinating. I'm not a speaking celebrity, so I don't get speaking invitations - either in the US or elsewhere. However, I do notice the various calls for participation that conferences push out, and I apply to speak at ones that look interesting. Sometimes I get accepted, sometimes I don't - recently, I gave a Smalltalk Tutorial at SPA 2007 in Cambridge, UK - and it seemed to be well received.
There's really only one way to broaden your exposure, and it doesn't involve kicking back and waiting for an invitation.
Actual usage of software is the best way to find bugs - especially ones you hadn't thought to look for. BottomFeeder has a syndication library that it uses for creating feed and item objects, and that library is now being used by Smalltalk-Central. Recently, I extended the way feed filters work - they had been used solely to filter items out (i.e., a match against a filter kicked the item). Mark Roberts wanted a positive filter, so I extended the library a bit while I was in Cincinnati.
However, the filtering had a flaw - the filters run sequentially, and while filter1 might keep an item, filter2 might knock it out. That's not really the behavior Mark was looking for, and since he was the person requesting the feature, it really should have worked the way he wanted it to. So this morning, while he explained the problem on the IRC channel, I fixed the code - it was a simple matter of having items remember whether they had been positively filtered during the filter loop. That's all done, Mark's happy with the code, and it's published.
Turns out that talking to the customer for a feature is usually the best way to understand the request.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
James Robertson will be describing the roadmap for the Cincom Smalltalk product Suite (VisualWorks and ObjectStudio 8). There have been changes to this roadmap over the last few months. This session will explain where the suite is, where it's been, and where it's headed. This should be of interest to all Smalltalkers, whether they use Cincom Smalltalk now or not - and it will also be of interest to software developers and managers who may be thinking of examining Smalltalk. This will be an interactive session - I expect to entertain questions as I talk, and will be responsive to any and all of them.
See you in Toronto!
Ed Foster notes that DRM can bite the average user back pretty hard - preventing you from watching content you legally bought:
"I recently let my girlfriend borrow my DVD player because hers went out," the reader wrote. "Well, I thought, that's okay because my computer is hooked up to my TV and I had a DVD drive on the computer so I can still watch my movie collection. Boy, was I wrong. It seems that three out of the last four DVD movies I had just bought will not play on my computer."
The DVDs that wouldn't play were "Flags of our Fathers" by Warner Bros, "We Were Soldiers" by Paramount, and "Battlestar Galactica 2.5" by Universal, the reader said. "Each time it comes up with 'Macrovision distribution failed' error message and playback is not possible. These movies were purchased at WalMart just days before, but here I am with legal copies of DVD movies and I can't play them. A couple of days later when my DVD player was back, the movies play just fine on the player."
For the folks out there that want to chime in about how this is an "edge case", and few people have a PC hooked to their TV? I think XBox with Media Center counts, and that's becoming fairly popular - and the same asinine DRM is baked into that kind of device. More and more people are using iTunes to watch stuff (we regularly watch stuff through iTunes, without an Apple TV - all we needed was the PC that's hooked to the TV already, and we use iTunes there to stream from the Mac. I don't know whether Apple has the same level of stupidity built in that MS does, but give them time - as AppleTV picks up, the MPAA will ask for it.
The bottom line on this is simple - it doesn't stop pirates - they use easily available software to bypass the controls. The people it stops are law abiding but not technically deep people who just want to watch stuff they already own.