Wired tries to handicap winners and losers in the Microsoft/Yahoo game, but they miss the bottom line: if Microsoft ends up buying Yahoo, it's a lose-lose for everyone:
- MS will be out of a ton of money
- Yahoo, like a car off the lot, will start losing value the instant it's acquired
- The culture war between the MS and Yahoo employees will be horrid, and damaging
- The software that dies in the "my way or the highway" fights that are inevitable after an acquisition will dilute the value of both companies over time
Take this to the bank: if the deal goes through, MS will be wishing it hadn't within months - and former Yahooligans will be lamenting the loss.
We've been working on Web Velocity - our Seaside application server product - for awhile now. In the recent release of Cincom Smalltalk, we announced support for Seaside 2.8, but there's much more coming. This morning, I thought I'd do a brief "Hello World" demonstration of how easy it is to get started with the product. I'm using one of our first internal development builds - but we intend to go into beta soon.
The beta program will be partly open - we'll be inviting interested parties in. If you are interested in giving a new Seaside based product a real spin - as in, you are willing to try and build something in it, and work with us to get it ready for production - let me know.
I've got the video available in four forms:
Also on YouTue:
This looks like an interesting project: JavaConnect:
JavaConnect is a Visualworks Smalltalk library that allows a seamless interaction between Smalltalk and Java. A Smalltalk application can access any Java object and send messages to it, just as if it were a Smalltalk object. Its implementation relies on a connection between the Smalltalk environment and a standard Java VM environment using Visualworks' DLLCC and Java's JNI. The Java application thus executes on a regular Java VM and the Smalltalk application executes on the regular Smalltalk VM.
Looks very impressive - I'll have to download it and give it a whirl.
Technorati Tags: java
Scoble says that Google is iterating after the Enterprise shops:
I’m convinced that Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, has a five-year plan to put Google’s foot inside the enterprise door.
Yes and No. IMHO, Google isn't really interested in the current enterprise shops - as Scoble says, they are way, way too deep into legacy to flip. They'll be happy to make inroads, but that's not really where they intend to win. Where they intend to win is with newer shops - the places that will be "the enterprise" in 10-20 years. Those shops are small now, and way, way easier to convince that they don't need the weight of the full set of tools from Microsoft, IBM, SAP (etc). They'll happily go along with Google Apps, SalesForce, Amazon EC2... and not look back.
If Google plays their cards right, in 20 years they'll be protecting their Enterprise turf from the scrappy new contender of the day - and Microsoft will be a smaller, less influential company from a bygone era.
Kara Swisher has a useful "back to earth" tonic for all the cool kids who think Twitter (et. al.) is the biggest thing ever:
And so I asked a large group of peopleâabout 30âand here is the grand total who knew what Twitter was: 0
Widget: 1 (but she thought it was one of the units used in a business class study).
Facebook: Everyone I asked knew about it and about half had an account, although different people used it differently.
This shouldn't really be a surprise, but I'm sure lots of techies will be surprised by it. Just as there are poitical junkies and news junkies, there are social media junkies - and the gap between when the junkie knows about some "big new thing" in their field of interest and when the "rest of the world" knows about it can be very, very large. Sometimes that gap is never crossed - and it's useful to keep that in mind.
|We announced that ObjectStudio 8.1 was Vista Certified, and today we got ahold of the official certification artwork from Microsoft. The logo certification applies to ObjectStudio 8.1. While we support VW on Vista, it's not logo certified|
With 1Q earnings from both companies out and nobody blinking as a key deadline passed over the weekend, Microsoft appears to be no closer to buying Yahoo than when it made its $44.6 billion bid nearly three months ago.
If Microsoft is very lucky, their management will be spared the consequences of this extraordinarily stupid idea. The two companies would not mesh at all - either from a technology or a culture standpoint. It would be a large scale version of what happened with ParcPlace-Digitalk, and let me tell you - that went very, very badly.
Scoble shows that he doesn't really see the problem MS has with Mesh:
The only good excuse I’ve heard so far why Microsoft Mesh isn’t interesting is “I hate Microsoft.”
The problem is fairly basic - and, based on their stealth announcement, I believe MS understands the same thing: this is the sort of net based extension of Microsoft technologies that would have been really interesting 5 years ago. Now? It's far less interesting, given the vastly more open nature of Amazon's service, and the existence of Google's platform.
Ultimately, this is a conservative offering aimed squarely at Microsoft's installed base. There's nothing wrong with that, and it might well help to retain that base in the "paying customer" column. It's hardly game changing though.
Technorati Tags: web services
Randal Schwartz is bringing Smalltalk to people who might not be aware of what it can do:
The reaction was actually quite rewarding. A number of the hardcore Perl hackers asked a lot of questions about Seaside and how it works, and about Smalltalk in general. The interest was high, and the crowd inspired to investigate this further. So, I have managed to walk into the lion's den and deliver the message, and walked out without too many scratches. Yeay.
I've had very favorable responses from Ruby groups when I've visited them - I'm always careful not to push too hard though. I think it works to present Seaside and Smalltalk as "if you're into Ruby, here's another dynamic language technology you ought to be aware of". Presented that way, it seems to work.
While the non-commercial product is not supported (other than for academic use), we do offer some automated support now - and the data there is useful for commercial customers as well. Deanna Simpson, one of our support staff, created a Seaside based support resolutions app - using it, you can investigate whether a problem you are having has been reported and/or resolved.
Update: And the application seems to be having difficulties. I've taken it offline until they can be diagnosed. Sorry about that.
Technorati Tags: cincom smalltalk
It's past time that a major media outlet started taking a look at the tactics the RIAA has been engaged in - and kudos to BusinessWeek for breaking out of the pack and writing about it. I'm not a huge fan of the RIC laws, but boy - if anyone deserves to be put through that wringer, it's the RIAA.
This week we have a rundown of what's new in the latest release of Cincom Smalltalk, which just officially shipped last week. We also included a chat we had with Mark Grinnell during the planning meeting a week ago, on the process we went through for the Vista Certification of ObjectStudio 8.
The discussion of new stuff in the product went long enough that we didn't get to industry news (or even much else in Smalltalk news - we'll hit those next week. If you have feedback, you can always send it to email@example.com - or visit us on Facebook, iTunes, or Ning. You can also cast a vote for the podcast over at Podcast Alley.
Later this weekend I'll have episode 85 out - we did an overview of the new stuff in the latest Cincom Smalltalk release (there's a lot), and we also included a segment we did with Mark Grinnell on getting ObjectStudio 8 Vista Certified. It should be of general interest, with all the news about the goodies in the latest release - which, btw, you can download here.
We've been a little quiet about what's happening with Seaside, but - with the planning meeting behind us, it's time to toss out a few updates. First, the latest release of the product (VW 7.6 and OST 8.1) both support Seaside 2.8 - just go to the Parcel Manager and load it. I've put together a full tutorial for it as well - you can view the screencasts or text version of that here.
That's not all we're up to though. We are working on a project we're calling Web Velocity, which puts together Seaside, some native web-based development tools, and GLORP/Active Record to give you a completely new Smalltalk development experience for the web. I'll be putting together some focused material for that over the next few weeks - in the meantime, here's what you see in the browser when you fire up a Web Velocity image:
I bet Microsoft is none too happy about this:
Dell has a Web page devoted to its new policy, Windows XP Availability, which notes that the last day to buy a computer with Windows XP preinstalled under the current rules is June 18. Afterward:
"When selecting your operating system, you will see an option called "Genuine Windows® Vista Business BONUS" and "Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate BONUS." With these options, you may...have Dell factory install Windows XP Professional. You will also receive a backup media disc for Windows XP Professional, as well as the media for Windows Vista. "
So Dell is bowing to market demand, as opposed to MS' wishes. That shows the loss of influence that MS is suffering - and it shows just how much people would prefer to not get Vista if they have a choice.
Technorati Tags: microsoft
Based on one of the comments made to this post yesterday, I think I wasn't clear. The problem Sun has with MySQL isn't that they are expanding the closed source nature of it; it's the reason why they have to do it. They massively over-paid for that product, and that overpayment has left a large hole that needs to be filled. Who's going to fill it? Why, the MySQL user community, that's who. Don't expect to see anything useful released into the open stream by Sun, because their inability to make a rational purchase decision has precluded that. Had they made a reasonable offer, they wouldn't be dealing with this. But they didn't, and they are.
I mean seriously - what kind of idiot pays $1B for a company with $50M in annual revenues? Especially given this:
Of the company's bottom line, Mickos said, "Profitability isn't a specific goal yet, but we aren't burning cash. We go a bit above breakeven, a bit below breakeven."
So Sun tossed $1B at a break-even business. I wonder what the shareholders think of that?
With the rise of open source, cross Smalltalk frameworks like Seaside and Glorp, code portability is getting to be more important. On today's Smalltalk Daily we revisit the flip side of a topic I covered last year - how to export code out of Cincom Smalltalk in a way that is format-compatible with other Smalltalks.
Looks like some of the Vista chickens are coming home to roost:
The world's biggest software maker said sales of Windows for PCs sank 24 percent and revenue from its online advertising unit came in at the low end of its projections. Microsoft's report contrasted with positive comments from chipmaker Intel Corp. and computer company International Business Machines Corp.
Maybe Ballmer should throw some more chairs - I expect that MS has now passed their peak, and is on the way down. Doesn't mean they'll disappear; IBM survived their crisis, and MS will survive theirs. They will come out the other side of it with a whole lot less industry influence though...
Looks like I'm not the only one who's figure out that Jonathan Schwartz must have lost control of his senses when he decided to buy MySQL for $1B USD - even Schwartz has sobered up enough to realize that actual revenue has to come from somewhere, and services around the database won't be enough. The solution? Cool new features will not be open source:
In the future cool new features of mySQL (like online backup) will, when written by Sun, first go only to paying customers.
The Open Source community is up in arms, but what did they expect? After Sun stupidly spent that huge wad of cash, someone has to pay the bills.
This is a twofer for Schwartz: he's managed to throw away a full billion dollars, and - when he finally had his very own "wtf" moment, he managed to create a rather large pile of negative PR. Maybe Sun needs to bring back McNealy.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
Rob Fahrni sums up Microsoft's stance with customers:
So, you have the Vista debacle, iPod rules the roost, the Yahoo! acquisition is going well, and now you're going to shut down people who legally purchased music from you? Wow.
I think their customer service story could be stated as "And the horse you rode in on..."
I was driving to my daughter's school, listening to my iPod, set to shuffle my music, and "Code Monkey" came up. Imagine my surprise when I had a sudden epiphany on a longstanding bug in the blog server.
I had noticed that whenever I pushed a new post up, if I wanted the category specific feed to update, I needed to manually force that to happen. This was irritating, but I hadn't figured out why it was happening - the order (update the cache, then update the feed) looked right. What I hadn't done was delve into the process of cache updating. Here's what that looked like:
... self categoryCache add: category. [self cache cacheForCategorySearch: aBlog] forkAt: Processor userBackgroundPriority. ...
You might see the problem - the cache update code is forked, and at a lower priority than the active thread. Given the Smalltalk Process Model's operation, that thread is guaranteed to not run before the main thread does - which meant that the category specific feed was getting dropped before the cache got updated. I just made sure that the feed gets dropped within that fork, after the cache update - which solves the problem.
So what does it say about me that I came up with this during that song :)
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Microsoft tries to explain why the customers screwed by the pending shutdown of PlaysForSure shouldn't be blamed on them:
"Had we had the ability to deliver DRM-free tracks at the time, we absolutely would have done that," Bennett said. "We talked to the labels at the time about that. As a company, we have continued to push for this. Zune has a subset in their catalogue of DRM-free Mp3s. Now, the industry is making progress. The labels are understanding the down side of DRM when its used the way they wanted to use it, they end up punishing the users who bought music legally more than those who want to circumvent the system."
Umm, right. Poor little Microsoft, unable to take a stand against the record labels. Right. Wal-Mart can push down CD prices, but MS can just sit there and take it. I'd mention something that Bennett doesn't seem to have, but this is a family friendly site....
Mathew Ingram notes the twitter storm around one of Twitter's prominent guys leaving - and notes that a lot of the problem is likely the premature claim that the scaling issues there were a thing of the past:
As support for this argument, Mike uses a presentation that Blaine made at a conference last year, in which he claimed that scaling applications that use Ruby on Rails is “easy” and suggested that Twitter’s problems were mostly behind it. As anyone who has been using the service much over the past year knows, that statement was… well, overly optimistic. Is that Blaine Cook’s fault or is it that Rails doesn’t scale? There’s no question that Twitter usage has skyrocketed over the past six months or so. For his part, Blaine says the departure was amicable and that it was just time for him to move on.
The upshot of this is worth remembering for PR purposes: don't make technical claims that you aren't absolutely certain you can fulfill. I know this one personally; we spoke way too often and way too early about Pollock, and look where that got us.
The first talk listed on the summary page should be of interest to a lot of people: Using Store to manage Gemstone code. I've had a lot of questions come to me on that topic, and it looks like Paul Baumann has some answers - all you need to do is come to the show!
GemKit is an open-source tool that was first created by GemStone Professional Services. Intercontinental Exchange has fixed and enhanced the original Store port of GemKit and is releasing these improvements to the community. Anyone interested in managing GemStone source code using Store will be interested in this technology demonstration. The demonstration will extend beyond GemKit into automated release tools and code management practices.
At least the stupid machine isn't smoking this time - it's just not draining. Seriously though: are the dishwasher gods just out to get me, demanding that I learn to wash everything by hand for some reason?
Cincom Smalltalk won the last shootout sponsored in Europe (by a Java magazine, no less) - here's another chance to show people how cool Smalltalk is. C't magazine is sponsoring a contest (the site is in German) - the goal: develop an application that reads in screens from the classic "Asteroids" game (that will come in an emulator) and responds with appropriate key presses to play the game. The prizes are pretty cool:
- Full-HD-Beamer Panasonic PT-AE2000 and PlayStation 3
- 30" Monitor Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP
- A 1000 Euro laptop
The contest ends on June 30th - they are providing an example C++ program to show you what they expect.
The only way Microsoft could play down the Mesh announcement more would be to release it on a Friday. As it is, sending the news out on a Tuesday (and one that has major primary news to boot) at midnight eastern time is as good a way of saying "pay no attention" as I can think of.
Update: As I expected, a major snoozer. Here's Scoble trying to explain it:
It's very hard to explain it all in a few words. It took 1.5 hours this morning for them to peel off the covers and show me all of Mesh's feed goodness and start to explain what's coming. What Mesh is today is mostly some end user functionality that looks like Plaxo Pulse done right, but if you stop right there and either get excited or dismiss it, you'll miss the point entirely.
Here's a hot tip: If it's supposed to be game changing, but it takes 1.5 hours to explain, it's not. Apparently, there's a whole lot of stuff about synching syndicated data and pushing it around. My question at that point: "This is what Ray Ozzie has spent the last three years pushing Microsoft to?"
Joe Wilcox explains in depth why DRM sucks: Microsoft switched from PlaysForSure (ironic name now, eh?) to whatever scheme the Zune uses - and after August of this year, you're pretty much screwed (yes, you can downgrade your music by burning a CD - but that's stupid). Here's MS' explanation:
"If you intend to transfer a previously downloaded song to a new computer (or an existing computer with a new operating system, such as an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista) within the maximum allowed limit of 5 computers, please do so before August 31, 2008. You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play."
Given the replacement rate on home PCs, that's a pretty lame policy. MS has the muscle to stand up to the RIAA, but I guess they don't have the courage. Much, much easier to just screw their customers...
From a Product Manager perspective, the following comment from Gilad, highlights why VMasDLL, and DLLCC tools & improvements, are on our list of work in progress, for future product improvements.
"I think that the reason the world lives in ignorance and uses the kind of languages it does instead of using something beautiful like Smalltalk, is because of all the pragmatics of interacting with the rest of the world."
So based on Microsoft's dealings with web applications to date, anyone want to bet on whether the Mesh stuff they are announcing at 9 PM PDT will be useful or not?
I'm already skeptical based on the announcement time; what rocket scientist picked midnight east coast time for a major announcement? Not to mention that the news will be filled with the PA primary results then. Call me skeptical, but I see "pre-bury" written all over this...
I have to do something I don't normally do today: drive to work. We have a customer just south of DC that I'm meeting with later this morning, so I have to brave the DC area traffic. It's been quite awhile since I've done that, and I suspect that things haven't improved since then...