You have to love a headline like this:
Butts Charged With Stealing Toilet Paper
I'm not even sure how to classify that one...
WonderBranding notes that Revlon isn't paying attention to product and corporate mentions on the net, and that it's costing them some customers:
Since then, I’ve had a steady stream of comments from women across the U.S., increasingly desperate to find any remnants of the makeup they can find. As of this writing, there are 93 comments on R.I.P. Vital Radiance, with one or two more added each day. Let’s say they represent one-tenth of one percent of the audience that liked Vital Radiance enough to seek it out on the internet AND comment on this blog - that’s 90,000 women. Multiply that by the number of women who are potential purchasers and non-commenters, and we’re probably talking about hundreds of thousands.
The sad thing is, I bet Revlon has a whole slew of overpaid, traditional Marcom folks who have no idea whatsoever that this is happening - they're too busy getting the next big spread in a glossy magazine or TV ad. It would do them some good to listen to the podcast I did on this topic awhile back...
Technorati Tags: PR
I love this story:
Courier-Journal sports reporter Brian Bennett had his media pass revoked and was ordered to leave the press box during a college baseball game Sunday because of what the NCAA said was a violation of its policies prohibiting live Internet updates from its championship events. "It's clearly a First Amendment issue," says C-J executive editor Bennie Ivory. "This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers."
As the author of that story noted, what are they going to do next? Stop people from using cell phones and blackberries? Start scanning them for electronics on entry? The NCAA has to get with the program and realize what century they live in, and take note of something even simpler: if someone gets a web update on a game, are they more likely to start watching it, or less? If the answer is less, then they have a problem with the excitement level of the sport, and electronics bans won't solve that.
Technorati Tags: media
Andres Valloud sent me some photos from Smalltalk Solutions - here are a few of them. I'll get more posted on the main Cincom Smalltalk Site later today, as I get them processed. First, here are two from the coding contest:
In the top photo, that's Michael Lucas Smith on the left, and Mike Hales on the right - with Randy Coulman behind them. Below that, it's Niall Ross all the way to the right, and Travis Griggs getting up. Next, I have two Andres took of the "Industry Misinterpretations" podcast we did at the show:
From left to right, that's Michael Lucas-Smith, me (James Robertson), David Buck, and James Savidge. I'll have more later
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
|I just finished "Brave New War" - it's a quick read. I like the book, even if I don't agree with all of it. The main disagreement I have is this: I think the author (Robb) underplays the importance of ideology (and the funding sources for what he calls "4th Generation Warfare") in his thesis. Nevertheless, it's worth reading and pondering, and it comes in under 200 pages.|
This week we discussed native widgets vs. emulation - a general conversation on the state of play with widget sets ensued. During that conversation, episode 49 of the Software Engineering Radio podcast came up - "Dynamic Languages for Static Minds".
Cairo came up again, along with the work that Michael and Travis are doing with that in Cincom Smalltalk. Stick around at the end of the podcast for the jobs report and David's "Simberon Design Minute". As always, if you have feedback, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, Podcast Alley clears votes at the end of each month - so head on over there and toss another vote our way!
Those bright guys at Gartner are back with more conventional wisdom based analysis - this month, it's the death of the traditional workplace. Hey - they only lag the weekly news rags on this by a decade or two:
Gartner argues that three of the four traditional pillars of work -- the living wage, long-term relationships with loyal employers, and government- or company-provided pensions -- have already gone the way of the dinosaurs, leaving only the 40-hour workweek.
Here's what I'd like to know - when was the "golden age" when people had it so good? This kind of analysis usually ends up pointing at the 1950's and 1960's, which were economically good times for the US - you have to bear in mind that much of the rest of the world we compete with now was still recovering from the utter destruction of WWII though.
I wonder if they would select the 1930's as a golden age? Or the 1870's? Analysis is so easy when you don't know a thing about history.
You've heard of planning poker - but what about Planning Croquet? Via Squeak News, The Economist spoke to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu founder, about that:
One area where he sees this happening is in real-time collaboration. E-mail is widely used as a collaborative tool, but has severe limitations. When a team, such as a group of software developers, wants to work together on something in real time, something more elaborate is needed. Mr Shuttleworth points to an open-source platform called Croquet, an immersive environment that is similar in many ways to Second Life, a popular online virtual world. “You can see your collaborators’ avatars looking at a spreadsheet in a virtual room,” he says. “People change things in different colours -- newer stuff glows. We’ve started to use this for planning and building Ubuntu.”
That could make planning fun :)
Microsoft on patents back when they were small:
In a memo to his senior executives, Bill Gates wrote, “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.” Mr. Gates worried that “some large company will patent some obvious thing” and use the patent to “take as much of our profits as they want.”
Last month, the technology world was abuzz over an interview in Fortune magazine in which Bradford Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, accused users and developers of various free software products of patent infringement and demanded royalties. Indeed, in recent years, Mr. Smith has argued that patents are essential to technological breakthroughs in software.
Consider: What if ParcPlace had patented the idea of a language runtime/VM back in the 80s, and then acted like Verizon has against Vonage? Would the software industry be a better place now? As much of a Smalltalk advocate as I am, I'm going to say no. Software patents should be eliminated - they help no one.
Technorati Tags: patents
Time to examine the logs - BottomFeeder downloads went at a rate of 212/day, but that's probably distorted some by my frequent dev builds - I'm getting closer to the 4.4 release. The details:
On the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
I can't figure out what's up with the bouncing IE/Mozilla numbers on the site :). Let's look at the syndication numbers:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.8%|
|Net News Wire||3.7%|
Looks like IE is running away with Syndication.
Music really is louder than it used to be - the recording industry, in another one of its many, many brilliant moves, has been pushing sound levels up for years. You can tell the difference pretty easily - grab a CD (or even better, and LP) from the early 80s (or earlier in the case of an LP) - and then, leaving the sound at the same volume, slap in a new CD.
This is why the "volume equalization" option exists on the iPod, I guess. And why does the music industry do this? They think we aren't paying attention:
That distortion effect running through your Oasis album is not entirely the Gallagher brothers’ invention. Record companies are using digital technology to turn the volume on CDs up to “11”.
Artists and record bosses believe that the best album is the loudest one. Sound levels are being artificially enhanced so that the music punches through when it competes against background noise in pubs or cars.
Dynamic range? Who needs that?
You have to love the stupidity of MacMillan exec Richard Charkin, who seems to think that copying books for search purposes is the same thing as stealing a laptop:
It's no secret that a number of publishers have been up in arms about Google's approach to digitizing their works, but Richard Charkin went so far as to recruit a colleague and swipe a pair of laptops from a Google Books kiosk at the event. About an hour later, the booth attendants actually noticed the missing goods and presumably began to panic, and the haughty executive then had the nerve to return the machines to their rightful owners whilst dropping the "hope you enjoyed a taste of your own medicine" line. He justified the bizarre behavior by suggesting that "there wasn't a sign by the computers informing him not to steal them," apparently referencing Google's controversial tactics when scanning books.
I don't recall Google copying books and then handing them out or reselling them - I guess that was too advanced a point for Charkin to grasp.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
I saw this book, Brave New War being discussed on some of the blogs I read, so I ordered it from Amazon. It took longer to arrive than I'd have liked, but here it is - and it looks interesting.
James_Lileks makes a point about media coverage of (insert your favorite topic here, although this examle is of weather):
Did the media overhype yesterday’s weather? Yesterday morning I was convinced the core cities would end the day as a post-apocalyptic scene of felled trees, crushed buses and twisted steel beams. I suspect they’re only giving us what we want weather is the most ancient and ecumenical form of current events, after all. No one’s disinterested in weather. Sometimes the coverage is instructive a few weeks ago, when the sirens went off, I acted like a sensible modern person: instead of looking out the window, I turned on the TV.
Heh - I love that last line, and sure enough - it's my first instinct as well. Locally here in the Baltimore area, we have Norm Lewis on channel 2, and he just loves storms - snow storms especially. If everyone else is calling for a dusting, Norm expects 3 inches. If they expect 6 inches, he predicts armageddon :) We have to keep that in mind all winter long.
I've been making progress on BottomFeeder 4.4 - I addressed a posting tool bug last night, and have been continuing to do cleanup on the user interface. Here's a screenshot of the latest (click through for the full image):
I'm getting close to the point where I can release this - just a few more issues to work through.
Another happy camper discovers the power of Smalltalk:
Then there I was, pouring over my Rails work, pacing around my apartment, and trying to figure out how to handle my apps flow control without wasting so much time. Then it clicked: the only answer for my predicament was Seaside. You don't link pages together. You don't make calls to template files. In Seaside, you instantiate objects that handle the various aspects of MVC, and you make things happen (i.e. go to a different page) by registering a callback to the destination object's proper methods. When you do this, things flow like a desktop app. You stop thinking about calling this url or that, and passing sets of parameters: all you think about is the workflow. All of a sudden, most things can be boiled down to reusable components: even more reusable than partials are in Rails. It seems that we are closer, in Smalltalk, to true object reusability that everyone rambles about in Object Oriented Academia.
Technorati Tags: seaside
I just love guys like Andrew Keen - he's so irritated by the "messiness" of the web that he doesn't notice the messiness in his own writing. For instance - where does he get the idea that Wikipedia is a more trusted news source than CNN? I wouldn't bet against Wikipedia being more reliable than CNN, but I seriously doubt that the raw trust numbers from the public line up that way.
Keen's basic mistake is simple: he believes that a small body of experts can tell us everything we need to know, and having more voices just confuses and clouds things. I rather suspect that the anointed felt the same way about the invention of movable type - it was just no good having books be accessible to just anyone. All the web has done is take that 500+ year old revolution and kick it up a notch or three. There's no difference other than the specific words of objection used by the people being disintermediated (mostly priests then, and mostly reporters now).
Keen also suffers from the same lack of vision that cripples the RIAA and the MPAA: he can't see past the last business model, so any change is simply seen as badness - and must be held back by any means possible: (from the Toronto Globe and Mail)
Don't agree that the Internet is THE current culture. It's part of it. and it's the part that is growing very quickly, while the traditional part of media is in crisis. I've written my book to alert people to this. Many people don't quite grasp the imminence of traditional media's crisis. In particular, I want to alert people to the idea that in the not too distant future there may not be a recorded music business or many independent and reliable news organs. I can't imagine life without the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Can you?
Hmm. So the music business is just going to die? I seem to recall the movie and TV industry fighting tooth and nail against the VCR, and only noticing that it was a channel for making more money after the court system tossed them out on their ears. The music industry is currently in denial - digital music can be easily copied and passed around, and no amount of DRM is going to make that impossible for pirates. That doesn't mean that music can't be sold - it does mean that an awful lot of the middle men who grew fat and comfortable under the old model are going to have to find new jobs - just like most of the people who used to service the horse industry (circa 1890) had to find new jobs by about 1920. It's interesting that Keen can't see that, but there it is.
Later in the Globe and Mail piece, we see exactly where Keen comes from - he's pining for the era of broadcast scarcity, and fears the current era of (for all intents and purposes) no limits:
I think that the percentage of good blogs is lower because the system has no filters. At least mainstream media has professional filters which, if not ideal, certainly gets rid of some of the dross and finds some jewels. Professional filters don't always work and tend toward somewhat conservative, populist and predictable taste. But I prefer to have my culture served up to me by professional tastemakers than an algorithm or by anonymous people on the Internet acting in the name of the virtuous crowd.
Back when the printing press was invented, I'm sure the elites were every bit as outraged by the idea that "just anyone" could push out a pamphlet and get their voice heard. Far better when it was the anointed few who could broadcast to the masses, either at state functions or churches. Keen is in the same place as the elites of that era, and he simply doesn't like the fact that "the rest of us" can broadcast an opinion now. This becomes even clearer with this:
Globe and Mail: I wonder if you making people slightly more rational and media literate than they actually are. I'm a media pro and I can't find my way around the blogosphere. So how can we expect people who don't have much time or experience on the Internet to figure out the best few blogs out of the 70 million? Go to Technorati with its oligarchy of A-list technology bloggers? That's more oligarchic than mainstream media.
Keen: Think two-way conversation is great when both parties reveal themselves (like this dialogue). I really do not like conversations between anonymous people, which tend toward abuse and cretinism. The most engaging conversation is real-time chat between people who have something coherent to say for themselves. Often these are professionals, but any passionate, well-informed opinion is worth listening to -- provided we reveal who we actually are.
Umm, yeah - without the strong hand of Walter Cronkite to guide me, I'm just helpless out here, Andrew. Sheesh - people figure out what to read the same way they figure out what restaurants to go to - word of mouth. Some of it is physical word of mouth, some of it is virtual (links in posts, blogrolls, etc). It's really not that hard. As to anonymity, I'll point out that Benjamin Franklin published anonymous political commentary after the founding of the Republic. At the risk of sounding like an appeal to authority, I'll count Franklin's opinion as having more value than Keen's.
Fully in denial mode, Keen goes on to say this, in answer to the question "who is this harming, anyway?"
But the profound decline in music sales (20 per cent just this year), the bankruptcy of Tower Records, the closure of independent bookstores, the laying off of thousands of professional journalists, mass redundancies in Hollywood are all concrete evidence of the way in which mainstream media is losing the battle against the digital revolution. Just look at the impact of The Long Tail and editor of Wired, suggests that the closure of independent bookstores are "road kill" on the way to his technology utopia. I strongly disagree with Chris. The future isn't always better. Perhaps the time has come to regard certain aspects of media as a public utility which add value to society. Then we can protect them from the ravages of the free market.
I answered that above, but hey - if this is his worry, then he has a long list of victims to deal with. Factory workers made redundant by technology, for instance. Heck, right within media - what about all the people who used to physically move type around? Should we bring them back for the common good, too? What Keen forgets is that the newspaper business has been changing for a long time. Before radio, there were lots more papers. Before TV, many papers put out multiple editions per day. Now, the immediacy of cable news and internet reporting has made weekly news periodicals obsolete, and is doing the same thing to printed newspapers.
Ultimately, Keen is that guy shouting "stop the world, I want to get off". In 1450, he would have objected to movable type. In 1830, he would have hated the railroad. In 1910, he would have hated the car. Today, he hates the internet. We've seen Keen's type before, and passed him by on our way to a better tomorrow.
Phil Windley spoke to Steve Gillmor, who over-estimates the impact of Apple's existing (and upcoming) technology:
The iPhone will kill the Blackberry. Apple TV will kill the DVR. In Steve's view, the iPhone is center-stage--everything else is a peripheral to it. The secret to understanding this is to realize that more and more, text, images, audio, and video are "cached across the surface area of my environment: laptop, AppleTV, iPhone," in Steve's words.
AppleTV doesn't help me timeshift content that the Apple store doesn't sell, and there's tons of that. As to the iPhone: not at the price they've set, no. I expect both products to be successful - in particular, AppleTV puts all the video content in iTunes (including lots of free niche stuff) right at your TV, where you want it. Unless they turn it into a full DVR though, it will be an extra piece, not a replacement.
Tony Long can be added to the list of people who are hopeless when it comes to Google's street view:
In an Associated Press story, Google spokeswoman Megan Quinn shrugs off any privacy concerns, saying: "This imagery is no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street." I don't know how often Ms. Quinn walks the mean streets of her town, but it's not comparable at all. For one thing, the casual pedestrian isn't staring at a computer screen with your image plastered all over it. And being spotted on the street by a single person, someone as anonymous as you are, is a far cry from being available to the prurient curiosity of millions of online peeping toms.
In Long's world, newscasters have never broadcast street scenes with random people flitting by, and newspapers have never published pictures of street scenes, either. I wonder what color the sky is where he lives?
Support for command line scripting is something we've been thinking about here at Cincom - and you can take a look at our (very early) thoughts on the matter below:
When the support for this is more stable, I'll do a screencast on it
Troy points out something I'm sure many people know, but - like me - he wasn't aware of before:
" and away it goes.
Sony is learning the hard way that games are about more than higher end graphics - they are being outsold 5-1 in Japan by the Wii:
Sony sold 45,321 units of the PS3 in May, compared with 251,794 units of the Wii. In April, the ratio was four to one in favor of the Wii, according to Japanese game magazine publisher Enterbrain.
That's got to hurt - and it has in terms of revenue losses: they lost $1.91 billion last year in the games division. That's not really a sustainable level of loss - bear in mind that their direct competition is for "hard core" gamers, and Microsoft can afford to burn a lot more cash on that battle. Meanwhile, Nintendo actually makes money on each console sold, and they're mostly hitting a different game demographic anyway. Depending on how the other parts of Sony do over the next year or two, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Sony exit the game console business completely.
Technorati Tags: management
Dare Obasanjo asks some good questions about Google Gears, and how much it really helps the average developer:
I don't consider myself some sort of expert on data synchronization protocols but it seems to me that there is a lot more to figuring out a data synchronization strategy than whether it should be done based on user action or automatically in the background without user intervention. It seems that there would be all sorts of decisions around consistency models and single vs. multi-master designs that developers would have to make as well. And that's just for a fairly straightforward application like Google Reader . Can you imagine what it would be like to use Google Gears to replicate the functionality of Outlook in the offline mode of Gmail or to make Google Docs & Spreadsheets behave properly when presented with conflicting versions of a document or spreadsheet because the user updated it from the Web and in offline mode?
I hadn't really given Gears much thought, but Dare's right - Google has tossed a database API at us and called online/offline synchronization solved. Hmm - by that logic, I can take Seaside, note that Smalltalk database APIs exist, and call Seaside persistence "solved".
I suspect that most people would spot the flaw in any such claim I tried to make for my product; maybe Dare's post will make people do the same for Gears.
I missed this post (it's from early May), but in it, Phil Toland explores the "conventional wisdom" that you need native threads in order to scale. He gets to the Erlang thread model of green, "shared nothing" fairly quickly, and notes that using that approach - with multiple VMs and message passing - is a whole lot simpler.
The thing is, if you write a multi-threaded application in a single memory space, it's up to you to deal with all the state issues. If one of your native threads goes bats, it can hose the whole system. With green threads and multiple VMs, you have something that's a whole lot easier to understand, follow, and debug. Those multi-core systems are getting more common and less expensive - ask yourself whether the developers you have writing code for them are getting any cheaper.
I've taken the FeedLists out (if you load a feedlist, the directory structure will simply be added to your subscriptions). I've also eliminated the separate "Searches" folder - you can organize search feeds into whatever folder you think they belong in now. I also fixed a bug that's been plaguing me for awhile, and the answer came to me in the debugger.
Say you try to add a feed like Steve Rubel's from the auto-discovery: 'http://www.micropersuasion.com/rss.xml'
That 's actually a redirect to a FeedBurner feed, but the base VW handling of that was not mentally prepared for a redirect to a different host. So, I've patched that, filed a bug report with engineering, and loaded the patch for download (Package Http-Overrides in the update list). Enjoy!
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
CBS has had problems with fans of the series "Jericho" - they ended the season on a cliffhanger, and then cancelled it. Now, there's talk of a short season in order to "wrap up" the story arc. This is exactly why Joss Whedon always ended story arcs for "Buffy" with each season close - and why I wish the writers for "Veronica Mars" had followed that idea...
For those of you waiting for stability in the 7.5 based (currently dev) version of BottomFeeder, I've now switched to it myself - so I'm enjoying my own dog food :)
this post originally appeared in 2005 (I didn’t remember it from back then). Turns out that RSS kicked out a new version of this post. Both Bloglines and Google Reader users saw it again (that’s where I saw it).
Over the last two days, I've seen a ton of old stuff show up as unread in BottomFeeder. I've seen this kind of thing before, and it usually means a change in the content management system (and thus, all new GUIDs).
What the heck are the 2012 Olympic organizers thinking with this logo:
I like my wife's take on this - it looks like someone stepped on a commemorative mug, and the logo is a depiction of the resulting mess. All we need to complete that is some brown color for the spilled coffee.
In between a bunch of conference calls today, I got BottomFeeder into a better state. First, the development build that's up there now can be updated. Second, I've simplified the UI more and gotten look policy switching to work again (it had been broken in the 7.5 builds). So - if you want to try it out, download the dev build, apply updates, and restart.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I've updated the BottomFeeder dev build again - the UI has been worked over a bit - here are some screen shots. Click through for full images - first, the main UI:
Next, the menu that pops up for the item list:
And finally, the menu that pops up in the HTML pane:
The general theme is simplicity - I've moved common items from the menus to an item level toolbar, and simplified the application level toolbar. The context menus in the main application area have been made much, much simler. Feedback? Send it here.
I looked at Microsoft and Gates, and thought, this man has changed AIDS like nobody else has on the planet. He has brought more money than has ever been brought to the issue. He's brought the focus of somebody who knows how to grow a business. And he said We're going to change it.' But actually if you really wanted to change AIDS or poverty in the world, what you would do is give away Microsoft free as an open platform for people to share information.
Hmm - here's a question for the Nic Frances, the guy who said that: where does he think the money that Gates is giving to charity came from?
PC World reports that the PTO is re-opening the Eolas patent claim against MS - you remember, the one that any non-lawyer in the software industry could tell was bogus? It seems that they might finally be having second thoughts. Good for them. There are only a bazillion more stupid patents they should toss after that one...
Technorati Tags: patent