This isn't the end of the story, but I'm working on making the main Cincom Smalltalk website easier to deal with. So - go check it out now. The next thing that will be changing is the left sidebar - I intend to migrate that up to the top of the page as a simpler CSS menu.
This stuff is just too cool - my wallet may completely deflate if I'm allowed to enter an Apple Store w/o supervision.
Jobs answered it [the iPhone buzz] with the iPod Touch, which shares the same touchscreen technology that was the trademark of the iPhone. The device also features the ability to connect to Wi-Fi Internet hotspots and a full Internet browser.
The device will sell for $299 for the 8-gigabit version, and $399 for a 16- gigabit version.
To complement the new device, Apple unveiled an iTunes Wi-Fi music store. Customers can preview and purchase the song over the Web using a Wi-Fi connection to their iPod Touch.
Jobs also unveiled a new version of the Nano, which Jobs said was the most popular music player in history. The new Nano is wider to accommodate a 2-inch video screen and metal design. A four-gigabit Nano is $149, while the eight- gigabit version is $199.
Must... have... new... iPod...
I see a bad SciFi channel movie in this story - 100 sterile (but able to become non-sterile, apparently) Asian Oysters have gone missing in the Chesapeake. Oooo - maybe a Frankenfish/Oyster genetic mutation movie!
The Spotlight search on OS X has gotten a fair amount of praise over the last couple of years - I thought I'd show of some experimental work being done in engineering in that direction. Sometimes, you don't know whether you are searching for a class, a sender, or an implementor - you just have part of a name in mind. So - here's some work in that direction that may end up in the product.
The position is for a Smalltalker that will contribute to the long term project VerySmallTalk. The aim of VerySmallTalk is to design and build a software infrastructure that addresses requirements of mobile computing, context aware software, and resource aware software. It targets a variety of devices ranging from small ones such as mobile phones and PDAs up to servers.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
NBC continues to slap itself with the ballpeen hammer: their new deal with Amazon tells us what kind of DRM the industry would like to see:
Compare Unbox: Shows bought from Unbox can be kept on two computers max and can be stored on up to two different (approved) media players. Users cannot "mix" accounts, meaning that a PC cannot have authorized content purchased from two different accounts accessible at the same time. As you can see, Unbox is more restrictive.
Yeah, if my daughter downloads something, gosh forbid that we should be able to watch part of it in the living room, and the rest of it on the big screen in the family room. That ust makes us filthy pirates. I've been down on Amazon's Unbox ever since "Buzz Out Loud" tested it, and found it to be both lacking and obnoxious.
Oh, it's even dumber than I thought - Unbox is still Windows specific.
There's been a huge discussion going on in the Squeak mailing list recently, over the idea of adding to the basic syntax of Smalltalk (this particular case deals with a proposed "pipe" operator). Well, things have gone pretty far in that conversation - today, someone pulled out the argument that this would "perl-ify" the language.
So, in language religion arguments, is this equivalent to making a Hitler comparison on Usenet?
I found this story in the NY Times fascinating - Columbia music has brought in Rick Rubin, who is well known in the industry as a top talent spotter (not that I knew this) - and they expect him to reinvigorate their business. These are the two things that popped out at me: first, some information from a focus group they ran:
"The Big Red focus groups were both depressing and informative, and they confirmed what I -- and Rick -- already knew," DiDia told me afterward. "The kids all said that a) no one listens to the radio anymore, b) they mostly steal music, but they don't consider it stealing, and c) they get most of their music from iTunes on their iPod. They told us that MySpace is over, it's just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth. That's how they hear about music, bands, everything."
This is where the labels have been adamant about DRM, which has only torqued off their audience more. The thing is, DRM is ineffective, and all it manages to do is make life difficult for those of us who don't troll the net for free downloads. It doesn't get in the way of the people who do that trolling at all. That's where the RIAA lawsuits come in, I suppose - but that's just an ongoing PR nightmare - making yourself look like the bully beating people up for their lunch money is not endearing. Which takes me to the second thing that popped out at me:
Seemingly overnight, the entire industry is collapsing. Sales figures on top-selling CDs are about 30 percent lower than they were a year ago, and the usual remedies aren't available. Since radio is no longer a place to push a single, record companies have turned to television and movies. "High School Musical," which originated with a Disney Channel television show, was the top-selling album of 2006, and not only has "American Idol," with its 30-million-plus audience, created best-selling singers like Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry, but an appearance on the show can also boost sales.
This is where the future for music is - cross promotion. There's even a personal example for me here. I like the show "The 4400", and I really like the theme song, "A Place in Time". Can I actually buy the song? Well, not on iTunes. I can't find it anywhere else online, either - other than a YouTube video (oddly enough, attached to "24" video).
So it looks like my only option to get the song would be to do something illegal (which is why I don't have the song in my collection yet, incidentally). This is exactly why the labels are losing business - they make it incredibly hard for me to buy music at the point when I want to buy it. I don't want to buy the soundtrack from the show, and I don't necessarily want an entire album from the artist - I just want the song. Gosh forbid they should let me buy it.
So what do people with fewer scruples do? They just grab the song, of course, from some Torrent (etc) online. The RIAA then screams about piracy, never considering the fact that they've made it very hard for people to get the music they want in the way that they want it.
The good news is, it sounds like Columbia now realizes that they have a problem. Unfortunately, they aren't so clear about realistic solutions:
"Until very recently," Rubin told me over lunch at Hugo's, a health-conscious restaurant in Hollywood, "there were a handful of channels in the music business that the gatekeepers controlled. They were radio, Tower Records, MTV, certain mainstream press like Rolling Stone. That's how people found out about new things. Every record company in the industry was built to work that model. There was a time when if you had something that wasn't so good, through muscle and lack of other choices, you could push that not very good product through those channels. And that's how the music business functioned for 50 years. Well, the world has changed. And the industry has not."
Further on, Rubin goes further, noting that the current business model the labels use is dead (something that's been obvious for a very long time, IMHO). The problem is, Rubin hasn't quite caught up - listen to the model he thinks would work:
To combat the devastating impact of file sharing, he, like others in the music business (Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine at Universal, for instance), says that the future of the industry is a subscription model, much like paid cable on a television set. "You would subscribe to music," Rubin explained, as he settled on the velvet couch in his library. "You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home. You'll say, 'Today I want to listen to ... Simon and Garfunkel,' and there they are. The service can have demos, bootlegs, concerts, whatever context the artist wants to put out. And once that model is put into place, the industry will grow 10 times the size it is now."
Good luck with that. The iPod model is already entrenched, and I simply don't see people going to a model where their music lives elsewhere. Do I really want a device that has to connect to the net when I'm out jogging? An always on network connection on a small, battery driven device won't give you a heck of a lot of run time - my mobile phone doesn't have nearly the battery life that I'd like it to have, for instance. Not to mention the other reality of this plan: the record companies would DRM it to death, under the banner of "protecting" the artists.
Along the lines of "protecting" the artists, the other bright idea tossed out in this article is that the artists should start sharing some of their tour money (on t-shirt sales, etc) with the labels. There's an idea - and I suspect it will go over like a brick. The artists are already getting screwed by the labels - why would they take this?
One more thing nails my "fossil" take on Rubin's approach - in discussing Paul Potts, who first made it on Britain's version of "American Idol" (which I believe pre-dates "American Idol"):
The clip was from a British show called "Britain's Got Talent," a version of "American Idol." Despite its popularity, Rubin has never seen "American Idol," and he had never heard of Simon Cowell, who is a judge on both programs.
If you're in the music business, and you haven't seen that program, you're simply not paying attention. It would be like being a software development person and claiming to have never seen Eclipse: regardless of your opinion of Eclipse, it matters in software development. Likewise, regardless of what you think of "American Idol", it matters in the music business.
You have to love this:
I love Linux and the XBOX 360, so yesterday I tried to include the word “LINUX” in the motto section on XBOX Live. I was stunned when I got a message saying “Your motto contains inappropriate language. Please try again”. Come on Microsoft is that really inappropriate? Maybe only to you guys.
That's just amazingly stupid :)
Scott Adams, using evolution as an example, points out how media narratives often undermine the very point they are trying to make - by leaving things out or looking like "commandments from on high". This point, made about evolution, applies in general to a lot of media narratives:
My point is that the average non-scientist has been fed a diet of suspicious evidence for evolution for decades. And much of it turns out to be bull****. It smelled like bull**** and it was.
Too many writers end up thinking of their audience as a bunch of stupid proles who have to be led to the truth - and if a few shortcuts with facts are made here or there to make the narrative better, so be it. The problem is, that only amplifies the scent of bs that is wafting off the narrative, and gives people something to be angry about. I'll post his summary, and point out that it applies equally well to almost any media narrative you care to pick:
You don’t need to give me links to web sites that “do an excellent job of answering all your questions.” I’ve been there. They don’t address my point in this post. All they do is point out that scientists themselves have convincing evidence for evolution that non-scientists don’t understand. I’m not debating that point in this post.
Technorati Tags: reporting
This week we took a slight detour by talking to Wayne Beaton of the Eclipse Foundation. Wayne is located in Ottawa, so Michael, Dave, and Wayne all gathered there. We talked about Eclipse and Java development, with Wayne's perspective as a former Smalltalk developer and current Eclipse developer.
We covered the Eclipse project and - as usual - wandered around a few software development topics as they came up. If you have feedback, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the Industry Misinterpretations group on Facebook, or leave a review at iTunes - and don't forget to vote for the podcast on Podcast Alley.
Om Malik notes that some countries are getting much higher levels of bandwidth than we do here (I just tested mine - I get 16 mbps down, 1 mbps up). Here's how he starts off:
Swedish grannies are connecting to the net at 40 gigabits per second life; 100 megabit per seconds are becoming common place in Japan and Korea; and even French are dreaming of an ultra-fast fiber future. And yet, in the US we are all stuck in the slow lane, settling for speeds between 768 kbps to 8 megabits per second. I have often wondered what it would be like to have a 100 megabits per second, and what I would do with that much bandwidth.
Hmm. The Sweden story is a one off experiment. So what about Japan? Well, according to this site, Japan's population was about 78% urban in 1995 (and it would be higher now). South Korea? From this site, as of 1998, almost 85% of the population was urban - and again, that would be higher now (projections have it at 92% by 2015).
So what about the US? Well, the stats from Wikipedia say that almost 81% of Americans live in cities, but that's when you have to whip out maps of the US, South Korea, and Japan. In the latter two nations, there are fewer (and larger) metropolitan areas, and wiring them handles the bulk of the population. In the US, there's just tons more land, and tons more space to be covered. This isn't that hard to figure out, but the a-list pundits like Malik and CNet's "Buzz Out Loud" crew seem to be continually mystified by the concept.
Do we have lousy broadband competition here? Sure, and that's part of the problem. However, the "last mile" in the US is a much bigger "last mile" than it is in, say, South Korea.
Technorati Tags: bandwidth
This week, we talked to Wayne Beaton of the Eclipse Foundation for Industry Misinterpretations. It was a fun chat - I'll have the audio up later today, or possibly tomorrow depending on when I get all the extra bits that need to be mixed in
Phil Ryu translates from Zuckerman-ese to English for us, and learns that to speak this yourself, all you really need to do is strike yourself in the head repeatedly with a ballpeen hammer. Yes, it looks like NBC has selected for stupidity and customer unease of use.
Mathew Ingram points to a fascinating deal Gogle has pulled off with the major wire services:
As I understand it, the arrangement between Google and Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the British Press Association and Canadian Press will see the content from those wire services appear on Google News with the logo of the wire service prominently displayed, and Google has agreed to give the wires’ version of a story prominence over the thousands of versions of that story that appear on the websites of the various newspapers that are members of AP, AFP, etc.
Now, open up an arbitrary newspaper - notice how many stories are just AP/Reuters (etc) copy/paste jobs? What about Op/Ed, you say? Well, if the blogosphere is anything at all, it's a reputation based op/ed system. What does that leave newspapers? Well, I've been saying that they are going to have to go deeply local for awhile now - and that probably means that they are going to have to get a lot smaller - their stringers are going to be the local bloggers who actually want to attend local school board meetings, high school sports - the things that the big wire services aren't going to cover.
Welcome to the new world of media - it's going to look an awful lot like the 18th and 19th century versions, I think.
We tried a new game this evening: Thebes. The game's theme: you're aspiring archeologists in 1900, ready to go find riches across the ancient world. Before you can do that though, you have the scour the major cities of Europe for whatever information you can find. It looks like this:
There's some luck involved, and it takes only a few minutes to explain - we were done in under 2 hours. Recommended!
I think Pournelle cuts SFWA way, way too much slack over their lame DMCA takedown methodology. It's one thing to properly complain about infringing use; it's another thing entirely to run a keyword matcher and decide that any hits imply infringing material - which is what these guys seem to have done. From Ars Technica:
What appears to have happened is that the group ran a Scribd search for certain author names and then issued takedown notices for all the results - Doctorow's book makes a reference to Isaac Asimov, for instance, and Senger's reading list is populated with the names of great sci-fi authors. This, it hardly needs to be said, is a less than foolproof way to police copyrights.
This kind of bozo methodology would have my blog infringing based on a variety of book reviews I've posted, since I typically mention the author's name.
I understand where Pournelle is coming from - he wants his copyrights honored, and that's as it should be. What shouldn't be excused is the collateral damage from a really stupid way of trying to protect authors like Pournelle. According to Ars technica, bogus takedown notices can be actionable, so it may well go beyond stupid.
It was quiet by the burned down house today - boarded up, with a red sign on it. Here's what the damage looks like in daylight:
As you can see, the left front and roof are shot. I expect that the whole house is a dead loss.
Technorati Tags: fire
Another week - it's September already! For the week, BottomFeeder downloads chugged along a rate of 122/day. The details:
Off to the HTML Tools distribution:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
And finally, the tool usage for Syndication access:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||6.8%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||6.2%|
Bob Westergaard has another screencast of VW running the DOOM startup sequence.
We came home to some excitement - there were fire trucks on our street, lined up all the way down to a street 2 down from us:
It turned out that a house two streets over (maybe a quarter mile from here) caught fire. The family living there have a handicapped child, so they were putting in a large addition with an elevator - the speculation is that there was some kind of electrical fault due to that. The good news? Apparently, they aren't living there during the renovation. Which was fortunate, as the fire destroyed a lot. I'll see if I can get photos tomorrow during the day - it's hard to see much in these:
That's smoke rising from the top, and at the very top, siding peeled away by the flames. It's not obvious in the first pic above, but the rook has multiple holes. While I was watching, they were punching out windows - I asked, and that was to ventilate the house - lots and lots of smoke. It's a good thing nothing else was hapening in Howard County this evening - we must have had 20 trucks and at least 50 firemen here. Below is a better view of the side of the house, after the firemen set up some lights:
Technorati Tags: fire
This is bizarre:
- Guy makes "Star Wars" spoof video, puts it online
- Viacom shows the video on the air, as part of a "best of the web" kind of thing"
- Guy thinks "hey, that's cool", and posts some of the Viacom bit on YouTube
- Viacom issues a takedown notice to YouTube
Now, I'm not a lawyer, but maybe one of Viacom's smart guys could explain the steps between 1 and 2 above that make it all ok?
Technorati Tags: stupidity
|We are pleased to announce that ObjectStudio 8 has been released - if you are a Cincom Smalltalk customer, you can expect the installation media sometime in the next few weeks. Our first customer of the new release has already taken electronic delivery, and has been working closely with us on the development - they are in the process of deploying an application on ObjectStudio 8 this month. I am not exaggerating when I say that we could not have done this without them - they have been very helpful and very patient!|
So what's new? Well, this white paper (PDF) explains a lot of what ObjectStudio 8 is about. What we've done is port ObjectStudio Smalltalk into a VisualWorks namespace, so that it can run on the VisualWorks VM. This has given ObjectStudio better performance, and has also opened up doors for all of our customers:
- ObjectStudio 8 developers now have direct access to all the VW libraries that have been built up over the last few years - such as Web Services, Security, Web Toolkit.
- VisualWorks developers now have access to a native UI toolset on the Windows platform
- ObjectStudio and VisualWorks developers have a unified set of tools to work from (browser, debugger), enabling cross-product learning to happen much faster
You can head over to the ObjectStudio blog to find out what the ObjectStudio team is up to. Enjoy the release, and feel free to send any comments my way. We will be updating the non-commercial download area to include OS 8 soon.
With only one month to go, I hope the 3 game sweep of the Sox indicates the direction things are headed. The AL East is still a longshot:
But things are looking up in the wild card standings:
If the Yankees can keep it close, the 3 games in Boston in mid September will be interesting...
Engadget imagines the way negotiations (now broken down) between Apple and NBC went over iTunes :)
With iTunes and the iPod sucb huge presences, I'm not sure how much leverage NBC actually has here...
Update: Chris Petrilli explains things for the slower Universal execs:
So what I’m saying to you, and Universal is this: you’ve removed the “no hassle” legal way to acquire your content and will likely make the legal option substantially more difficult than me driving to a friends house to watch it. You sure that’s what you wanted?
The Yankees have swept the Sox, and set themselves up for a shot at the division and the wild card. 5 games back is still a ways at this point, but it's possible - a sweep in the other direction would have been lights out.
Here's what really encourages me - weird stuff happened to the Red Sox:
Boston manager Terry Francona, already miffed at the commissioner's office for sending a security official into his dugout a night earlier to check whether he was wearing his uniform shirt, got hot again, and this time it had nothing to do with the style police.
Francona was ejected in the seventh inning after umpires reversed a call and ruled Kevin Youkilis out for running out of the basepaths to elude a tag by third baseman Alex Rodriguez on J.D. Drew's sharp grounder. Boston trailed 2-0 at the time, and the decision gave the Yankees a key double play. The Red Sox never recovered.
Heh. I love it when stuff like that happens to the Red Sox :)
If you read the site through a browser, you'll notice that I've cleaned up the navigation on the link bar (probably on the left, but it could be on the right, depending on the style sheet in use). The idea was to make it simpler and more organized; with luck, I've managed to do that :)
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