The Yankees are driving me nuts. They crawled within 4 games of Boston, and then squandered two weeks, falling 8 back. Now, they've just taken the first 2 games of a 3 game set with Boston - and they are tied for the wild card. Had they been able to stay within 4, we'd have a live pennant race. On the other hand, if they can win tomorrow, it's only 5 games with a month left. Nail biting time...
This should be interesting to watch: the Macintosh is leaving the niche and becoming much more mainstream:
On the desktop, part of the slip may stem from the fact that Apple is grabbing customers from other computer makers. Mac sales alone have grown at three times the rate of the overall computer industry this year, with the one-time niche computer retailer now selling one out of 20 personal computers in the U.S. "Some of those switchers are coming over, and it's like learning a new language to a certain extent," says Jim Gillespie of the Napa Macintosh Users Group.
The fact that Parallels let's you run Windows seamlessly helps a lot - the switchover cost is now pretty light - and you get a much nicer machine (unless games are what you're after - but even there, you can use Bootcamp). MS was already having size problems, and now they face some real competition - whether you like Apple or not, that's a good thing.
Technorati Tags: Apple
InfoWorld misses the point about Apple: they aren't targeting Enterprise shops:
From a business buyer's perspective, however, I've got to give it a C-. It passes, but with limited third-party software support and a company that seems to care so little for me as a customer, I simply wouldn't feel comfortable making those kinds of purchases.
That rating probably leases Apple, because it's not who they are after. The answer slides by earlier in the column, when InfoWorld notes that Apple devotes a lot of resource to iTunes. Exactly - they are aiming at the consumer/prosumer market, not the stolid business user market. The guy looking to save a few pennies off his purchase of 500 boxes isn't who they're after.
Technorati Tags: enterprise
Scoble has a video conversation with Plaxo up (why isn't this available as audio only?) - it's about some tools that Plaxo will be releasing today:
Plaxo, sometime in the next few hours will ship an online identity consolidator (that’s what they call it) based on microformats. What does that do? Lets you keep track of your identity from a group of online social networks.
They say that they'll allow aggregation between things like Twitter, Jaiku (and a bunch of other things). Sounds like they are scraping data that is available from these tools via RSS and other microformats (like the XML format Twitter uses, I guess). The question: how many terms of service agreements does this violate? I understand that this solves a problem that needs solving, but that may not be enough.
Technorati Tags: social media
As recently as 8 days ago, there was a race in the AL East - then thE Yankees decided to do an instant replay of April and May. At this point, they would have to sweep the Sox, and have the Sox collapse to win the AL East. At least the wild card is still in play - but not if games like last night's 16-0 drubbing keep happening...
In short, they want to protect science by locking it up under copyright. They want to restrict access to publicly-funded research results by requiring that everyone pay a fee to see it. There are plenty of reasons why PRISM's logic falls apart (see here for a thorough bashing), but I wanted to point out just one: they're hypocritical. While their entire web site advocates strict enforcement of copyright laws, the images they've used on their front page are a violation of copyright law.
Have we reached the "farce" stage of copyright battles yet?
I haven't posted much on this, but I have to figure that AT&T is royally torqued by the unlocking of the iPhone - there goes their 5 year exclusive, burnt to ashes in about a month. Business Week sums up:
Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T), the sole authorized supplier of the iPhone in the U.S., are doing what they can to make sure that legal clearance never comes. The two companies have put their lawyers on the case, applying pressure on hackers involved in unlocking iPhones to try to get them to stop. Much is at stake. AT&T has been hoping that as the exclusive provider of the iPhone, it will see a surge in new customers and monthly service charges of at least $60 from each one. Apple is supposed to get a cut of the revenues. If iPhones are unlocked, they can be used on the wireless networks of rivals like T-Mobile USA - and AT&T gets zippo. AT&T wouldn't comment for this story, while Apple didn't return a request for comment.
They might as well tilt against windmills. This is like the RIAA and MPAA using DRM - it mostly upsets paying customers, does nothing to stop piracy, and - most importantly - cannot be blocked. Apple and AT&T can get as many legal rulings as they want, and software hacks will be available on servers beyond the reach of the US legal system anyway.
It took something as interesting as the iPhone to make unlocked phones interesting in the US - I don't think that genie is about to go back into the bottle. You know what AT&T's best recourse would be at this point? Offer better service than the competition. Give people a reason to stay, rather than trying to barricade them in.
Of course, given their corporate history, I won't hold my breath for that to happen.
Update: CNet makes a point I had thought of, and agree with completely:
Unlocking a cell phone is neither illegal nor in any direct violation of laws. Apple can't stop anyone from unlocking a cell phone, and to be honest, I don't think it really cares. Apple is playing this recent iPhone unlocking news perfectly. If it overreacted and stopped the hack, it could stymie its future revenue gains, but if it endorses such a maneuver, it effectively leaves AT&T out to dry. Isn't it ironic that AT&T lawyers went knocking on the doors of the hackers while Apple lawyers sipped tea at home?
Yeah, I think that demonstrates the depths of Apple's concern nicely.
Technorati Tags: iPhone
There was a huge blog storm over the last few days - Robert Scoble did a video and post on Facebook/Mahalo (et.al.) being a better long term answer than Google, and the flood gates just opened. Jason Calacanis has a short summary of links here;
I talked about this briefly yesterday, but this morning I was reading Danny Sullivan's tirade against Robert (and a tirade it was; he made some good points, but needed to sit on his post another couple of hours to cool down). In all of that, this popped out at me, as I've had the same thought:
Mahalo comes up next and how by using a small number of human editors, it can be harder to spam. Sure. So's the Yahoo Directory. You remember the Yahoo Directory, right? It used, um, a small number of human editors to categorize the web. Advances in crawler-based search engines meant you could get really good relevancy and be spam resistant, which caused the Yahoo Directory to effectively be abandoned by Yahoo. Mahalo's approach to custom-tailor the most popular searches is interesting -- but despite heaps and heaps of publicity the new service has had showered upon it, it still hasn't gained any real traction among searchers. Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results from me in May describes the service in more depth.
That was pretty much my thought about Mahalo when it launched - this has been tried before, by an outfit with a lot more resources - and abandoned. I could be wrong though - the real answer will make itself known soon enough - either people will start using Mahalo or they won't. Thus far, I haven't been motivated to do so - Google is still the default for me in Firefox's search box in the upper right corner. That has more to do with inertia than with any positive choice on my part, but inertia may well be the determining factor here.
Technorati Tags: seo
I guess Sony wasn't happy getting scads of bad publicity from their Rootkit CD adventure - they've expanded the rootkit game to one of their USB stick products. From f-secure:
We received a report that our F-Secure DeepGuard HIPS system was warning about a USB stick software driver. The USB stick in question has a built-in fingerprint reader. The case seemed unusual so we ordered a couple of USB sticks with fingerprint authentication. We installed the software on a test machine and were quite surprised to see that after installation our F-Secure BlackLight rootkit detector was reporting hidden files on the system.
This USB stick with rootkit-like behavior is closely related to the Sony BMG case. First of all, it is another case where rootkit-like cloaking is ill advisedly used in commercial software. Also, the USB sticks we ordered are products of the same company -- Sony Corporation.
This isn't ordinary stupidity at work here - after the previous incident, this is deep, deep stupidity.
Think of it this way. Facebook is an intranet for you and your friends that just happens to be accessible without a VPN. If you're not a Facebook user, you can't do anything with the site...nearly everything published by their users is private.
I can definitely see this happening in Facebook groups that get (and stay) active - the only potential problem I see getting in the way is spammers joining groups and defacing the Walls in them - and I suspect that Facbook will respond to that. In any event, if this stays big, Google has a problem - as dare sums up:
The way you get disrupted is by focusing on competitors who are just like you instead of actually watching the marketplace. I wonder how Google will react when they eventually realize how deep this problem runs?
And there's the challenge for Google - not from someone else getting search better, but from someone bypassing the entire problem. If you trust your network to get you a large enough percentage of the answers you need, then the value of Google ads will drop accordingly. That's a big if, of course...
Technorati Tags: facebook
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we take a look at class SharedQueue, and how you use it to pass objects between two Smalltalk Processes. Here's the script I used in the screencast:
queue := SharedQueue new. one := [[true] whileTrue: [| nextItem | nextItem := queue next. Transcript show: '--- (one) Received: ', nextItem printString; cr]]. one forkAt: Processor userBackgroundPriority. two := [1 to: 10 do: [:index | Transcript show: '(two) Sending: ', index printString; cr. queue nextPut: index. (Delay forMilliseconds: 500) wait]]. two fork.
Unfortunately, Mark Cuban's vision of distributing high definition video over the Internet has two problems. The first is the fact that it is that distributing high quality video of the Web is too expensive and the bandwidth of the average Web user is insufficient to make the user experience pleasant. The second is that people on the Web have already spoken and content trumps media quality any day of the week. Remember when pundits used to claim that consumers wouldn't choose lossy, compressed audio on the Web over lossless music formats? I guess no one brings that up anymore given the success of the MP3 format and the iPod. Mark Cuban is repeating the same mistake with his HDNet misadventure. User generated, poor quality video on sites like YouTube and larger library of content on sites like Netflix: Instant Viewing is going to trump the limited line up on services like HDNet regardless of how much higher definition the video quality gets.
Dare is right in his summation, where he compares Cuban to a newspaper owner - he's raging at the future while he holds an increasingly irrelevant piece of the past. The broadcast model assumes a limited number of channels, which in turn makes it hard for anyone other than professionals to get on the air. The net simply isn't like that.
It's hard to get regular op/ed space in a newspaper - there are a limited number of slots, and the well known writers get first dibs on them. It's childs play to toss up blog though, and your words can become as prominent as those of any pundit. The same thing is happening with audio and video. This hardly means that professional quality content will wither away; it does mean that it suddenly has a lot more competition.
Technorati Tags: media
This week, we talked about object databases and relational databases, and how working with them differs. Along the way we touched on various other aspects of database technology
If you have feedback, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org - or head on over to iTunes and leave a review, or over to Podcast Alley and cast a vote. You can also join the Facebook Group "Industry Misinterpretations", and leave your comments on the wall there.
Lukas Renggli notes that ESUG has begun. I wish I was there this year, but we had a rash of "too many things at once" around here :)
Next, to dispel a few myths. Slashdot is written in Perl, seems to handle the load, and also seems to stay up. While there are a number of BitTorrent implementations, the original and (to the best of my knowledge) the most pervasive version is written in Python. Yahoo is a mix, but a good portion of it is written in PHP, with critical functions written in C. Twitter is written in Ruby, had early scalability issues, but seems to be past them. These are all examples of massively scalable applications.
So, while Joe Gregorio sees a future for databases without joins or transactions, I see a future in lightweight threads without locks or semaphores.
I think I've been saying that about Smalltalk and scaling for quite some time now.
Andres Valloud expresses astonishment at what passes for college level coursework these days. To be fair, the grade school level math he noticed was not coursework, but review - for the high school level math that was coursework.
A few years back, this might have surprised me, but my uncle has been teaching that level of remedial math at a university near him since retiring as a high school teacher. Some of the stories he tells about the students he gets are amazing, in the "how did they get to college" sense of amazing.
The problem seems to be an excess of compassion that is not linked to common sense. It is no favor to pass a kid through school when they continually fail basic subjects, and it continues to be no favor to them to send them to a college where they are certain to fail. Without basic standards being enforced, all this compassion yields is tragedy. Better to fail kids early, when there's a chance they'll learn something from it, than to feed a sense of entitlement.
Technorati Tags: schools
It's been a long week around here - one family event after another. Meanwhile, BottomFeeder downloads slacked off to 105/day. The details:
Lets see about HTML usage:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
That looks like an average distro, and the total traffic was average as well. On to Syndication:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||6.3%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||5.9%|
There's still a tone of tool diversity there
Looks like the iPhone has finally been unlocked - and from the way the story looks, Apple was kind of ready for this to happen. The only surprise? That it took so long.
I'm not at all sure that I buy Jonathan Schwartz' reasoning on their stock ticker change - instead of SUNW, they are now JAVA. Hmm.
The question is, why? Sure, Java is well known, but in name terms, SUNW is a well known brand. Java is also pushed by other companies (IBM), so I'd make the case that doing this actually dilutes Sun's brand more than anything else. Then there's the monetary cost - re-branding exercises are not cheap. I was along for the PPS to PPD to OBJS ride, and we spent a lot of time telling people things like "Remember PPD? That's really us".
Here's his explanation:
So what's that awareness worth? Ask the question a different way - if we wanted to buy that exposure, to touch tens if not hundreds of millions of consumers every single day of the year, across nearly every continent, industry, geography and demographic - what would it cost us? (If you're in the industry, just do the CPM calculus - the Java launch experience is one of the most pervasively viewed exposures on earth.)
Here's the thing though - I'm sure my phone uses Java. Does it advertise that fact? Of course not - Verizon doesn't care whether they use Java or Fortran, and the only brand they want in front of me is theirs. When I launch the phone browser I see no Java "launch awareness" - what I see is Verizon. The same thing goes for every other Java app I run across, because I rarely see anything telling me that it's Java. Back in the late 90's - yeah, apps announced that fact. Now? Not so much.
I think Schwartz and his merry band of marketers need to get out more.
I probably won't get one done tomorrow, either - I have a family issue to deal with. Its possible I might have time at a hotel later tonight, but don't count on it
Update: Ok, I did get them done for Thursday and Friday after all :)
The quality referred to here is the audio quality, not my taste in music. From the IEEE:
The loudness war, what many audiophiles refer to as an assault on music (and ears), has been an open secret of the recording industry for nearly the past two decades and has garnered more attention in recent years as CDs have pushed the limits of loudness thanks to advances in digital technology. The 'war' refers to the competition among record companies to make louder and louder albums by compressing the dynamic range. But the loudness war could be doing more than simply pumping up the volume and angering aficionados -- it could be responsible for halting technological advances in sound quality for years to come... From the mid 1980s to now, the average loudness of CDs increased by a factor of 10, and the peaks of songs are now one-tenth of what they used to be.
Even non-audiophiles like me notice. Grab an older CD from the early 80's - ironically, the audio on that probably has more dynamic range than any pop music CD (or mp3 download) you grab today.
Technorati Tags: audio
I'm not sure what Nick Carr expects Google to say about their new YouTube ads:
Now, obviously, it's always been inevitable that YouTube would incorporate advertising into the videos it plays - whether or not Google acquired it. YouTube is not a public service; it's a business. What gets me, though, is not just the patronizing spin that Google is putting on the news - "as always," its announcement concludes, "we're looking to improve the experience with you in mind"
Would he be happy if the execs donned hair shirts before they spoke about this?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Smalltalk Industry Council Announces Smalltalk Solutions 2008
Save the Date and Plan to Attend
Cincinnati, OH - The Smalltalk Industry Council (STIC) is pleased to announce the dates and location for Smalltalk Solutions 2008. The conference will be held June 18-21, 2008 in Reno, Nevada. Smalltalk Solutions is the premier forum for bringing together Smalltalk users, developers, and enthusiasts as well as everybody interested and curious in the wonderful Smalltalk technology.
The conference will again include:
Coding Contest - 4th Annual
We expect to have another packed conference agenda with representatives from the STIC Board and members from the Seaside, Ruby and other Dynamic Languages presenting the latest topics of interested for the Development Community.
We'll have more information regarding call for papers, coding contest registration, sponsorship opportunities and early bird registration in the coming weeks.
Smalltalk Solutions will be held at the Grand Sierra Resort. A bold new blend of the epic outdoor adventure in Reno and a luxury hotel, Grand Sierra Resort promises to be one of the nation's most imaginitive and spectacular resorts. Over 10 restaurants on site, shopping mall, health club and spa, free airport shuttle, car rental on property, fun quest family fun center, 50 lane bowling alley, go carts and miniature golf, spectacular productions and headliner entertainment, a movie theatre and so much more on site.
Smalltalk Industry Council - STIC
2001 Sheppard Ave, Suite 509
Toronto, ON, M2J 4Z8
The Smalltalk Industry Council is a cohesive Smalltalk community where information, technical issues, new ideas and concerns are openly discussed to benefit the industry. STIC members are users and vendors of Smalltalk tools, components, databases and services.Â The Smalltalk Industry Council has been reorganized and reformed with the core board members from Cincom, Instantiations, GemStone and Georg Heeg as Executive Director.
STIC - Smalltalk Industry Council