You could have the same guy for introductory computer science that this poor guy has.
Eliot presented his Cog VM work at ESUG 2008 -- Cog is a new, JIT'd VM for Squeak. It's still under development - watch the video for details, both on the VM work, and on how to get involved. You can follow Eliot's work on his blog; click on the image below to watch the video:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
I'm not sure this is the ideal way to go about it, but this contest (not being run by Twitter, I should add) is certainly interesting:
Following the rousing success of our Fix Digg's Miserable Business contest, we are hereby officially announcing the Create A Twitter Revenue Model contest.
After we decide on a winner, we'll post their plan and resume on Alley Insider as well as email both to Twitter cofounder Evan Williams. We'll post some finalist entries on Alley Insider, too.
That should be fun to watch :)
Now Listening to: Wild Child by Heart from: Rock The House Live
It's useful to recall that social media sites - things like Facebook and Twitter - exist to enable user defined interaction between people. In a business context, that probably means trying to get out useful information that your community would be interested in. What it doesn't mean is an echo chamber consisting of self proclaimed "social media experts" patting each other on the back all day. Michael Pinto:
The zombies then seek each other: You'll always notice that of the 5,000 followers that a social media expert has that all 5,000 of them are also social media "experts". Their only form of conversation is to quote each other and live tweet conferences where they gather. Like any good Ponzi scheme the lead zombies can make a good living feeding the hopes and aspirations of the worker level drones who parrot their every blog entry.
You see a lot of this kind of thing on Twitter - there are tons of people who chatter all day long amongst themselves about their own brilliance in this new arena. It's one thing for consultants selling that sort of expertise to do this; it's something else again to watch their fawning acolytes from product oriented companies engaging in it - what's the point?
I make use of Twitter (the vast majority of my tweets are auto-posts from this blog). I'm also on Facebook, where I cross-post the "Smalltalk Daily" videos. I like to think that broadens the potential reach of those videos. The thing is, I'm trying to use social media sites in support of my basic mission: spread Smalltalk knowledge generally, and Cincom Smalltalk knowledge specifically.
So what's the bottom line here? Social Media is a means, not an end. If you're going to jump in, you need to have a goal in mind. That goal could be personal, like "find old friends from high school". It could be a corporate goal, like "make it easier to find information about our product(s)". If it's instead something like "broadcast my brilliance in the social media environment", then there's a new catchphrase that defines what you're doing:
Travis explains a cool extension to the "Clone" capability in the browser:
There's also a new special form of Clone that shows up in the class menu only when you have a class and its superclass selected. It's called Blend. What it will do is create a clone of the two classes, collapsed into a single class. I spent some time playing with this at OOPSLA, and came to the conclusion (with agreement for the Master Refactorers, Don Roberts and John Brant), that you can't do this as a strict in place refactoring. So it's done as a clone.
See Travis' post for an explanation - it's a nifty way to clean up deep hierarchies that you no longer need.
Now Listening to: Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen from: Live 1975-85 [Disc 2]
Arden Thomas will be in NYC tonight, at the local Smalltalk User's Group:
"Leveraging Multicore CPU's with Cincom Smalltalk"
This presentation will discuss potential ways to leverage cpu's with multiple cores for concurrency, and some of Cincom's research, experiments and results.
This follows on from a series of posts over on Arden's blog. If you're in the area, check it out.
You can follow this blog on Twitter - every post gets linked over there. Just follow me, and you'll get all the updates. There's also a FriendFeed room - lots of stuff gets aggregated there. There's more than one Facebook group, but the "Smalltalkers" group seems to be the primary - you can also just friend me there. Finally, there's a Ning group, a Vimeo Video group, and a YouTube playlist.
I've been looking for a solid way to have a full backup of any podcast recording I do, and SkypeCap might be just the thing:
SkypeCap records audio conversations you have using the Skype Voice over IP (VoIP) service to MP4 audio file. You can save sessions for later use and playback
It's OS X software, which is what I need. Right now, I record my end of the call, and Michael records his - and then I mix it all together at the end. If Audacity crashes though, I have a mess (and that happened to me a few weeks back). I might have to give this a look.
I guess it's time to start really scrutinizing the old credit card statements - from PC World:
A payment processor responsible for handling about 100 million credit card transactions every month disclosed today that thieves had used malicious software in its network in 2008 to steal an unknown number of credit card numbers.
It's not that theft is more common with electronic transactions than it is with old fashioned physical ones; it's that any electronic theft has the potential to be much, much larger.
By all accounts, Microsoft has stepped up to the plate with Windows 7 - here's PC World on it:
There's no question about it: Microsoft has a hit on its hands with Windows 7. Even in beta form, the company's new desktop OS is garnering accolades from all corners of the blogosphere. By most accounts, the product seems faster and more stable than even Vista with Service Pack 1. And veteran Windows users everywhere are singing the praises of "new" features like the more refined User Account Control (UAC) mechanism and funky, Mac OS X Dock-like Task Bar.
I've heard from friends (and podcasts that I listen to as well) that the beta runs fine in things like VMWare and Parallels, and that it uses existing Vista drivers just fine. That's good news for MS - it means that 7 will hit the ground running. The only thing left is the branding exercise, which they muffed for Vista. I don't really expect a repeat of that - say what you will about Microsoft, but they rarely make the same mistake repeatedly.
There's a good news for Smalltalkers in this, too: We'll have to go through the process again, but our Vista Certified Smalltalk - ObjectStudio - should run smoothly under Windows 7. We've done some basic testing, and not noticed any issues. Which is not to say it's supported on Windows 7 - the OS is only in beta, after all. What it does mean is that we don't expect any real hurdles to supporting it quickly once MS goes to release.
The Obama administration will be using Google Mail accounts in the first few hours of the new administration because it will take time to set up their new official email accounts.
I don't think Google could have paid for better PR than that.
After years of being told how cool it is, I finally registered for Pandora this morning, and I'm giving it a try. While iTunes is very cool, I would like to find new music that I'm not already listening to. We'll see how well that works out.
Update: Ok, I like Pandora. After giving it a sample artist, it's created a playlist that includes a lot of stuff I like - some of it I have, some of it I don't. The only downside? I suspect that Pandora is going to cost me money (i.e., extra trips to the iTunes/Amazon store).
Don't tell the RIAA though - they're convinced that Pandora costs them money. Idiots.
There are more rumors about a Google drive (GDrive) coming out this year:
Gdrive is basically a cloud-based storage that should have two faces: A desktop client that keeps local and online files and folders in two-directional sync via a web interface for accessing your desktop files anywhere and anytime, using any network-enabled computer. In addition, it will come tightly integrated with other Google services to enable editing of supported document types, like spreadsheets and presentations via Google Docs, email via Gmail, images via Picasa Web Albums, etc.
I tried using S3 as a backup solution 3 years ago, but it was way, way too slow. Now that I have FIOS, maybe things are different. The thing I'll be watching for? What the pricing model for this service will be. I understand Amazon's model; how is Google going to do it?
Technorati Tags: cloud computing
Today's Smalltalk Daily looks at the implementation details for the Code Critic - the user level details, not so much the sorts of things that a maintainer would want to know. Specifically, we look at how to surface some of the deprecated checks that were in the previous release, but have been removed from this one. Using that information, tomorrow's screencast will create a new check. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Or on YouTube:
Today was my father in law's 86th birthday, so Smalltalk Daily is late. I have a topic and the material all set - I just have to record it after I handle one more errand.
This week James and Michael discussed the Code Critic (which I posted on recently, here). It's an interesting - if under-utilized and not well understood - tool, with a lot of potential. To listen, click on the image below:
There's some older, possibly out of date information on the Code Critic here.
Unless you're selling something that needs no explanation (like, say, socks), you have to pay attention to your value adds - something a lot of retailers seem to have forgotten. As Don Tennant of ComputerWorld points out:
What killed Circuit City is precisely the same thing that killed CompUSA a year ago: Its only real value-add -- knowledgeable sales and support staff with the expertise to explain the technology to customers -- was long gone. Specialty stores like Circuit City lost their appeal when they stopped investing in proper hiring practices and training programs. There was no longer any reason to venture out to Circuit City for electronics and computer gadgets and peripherals when you could get the same merchandise, probably at lower prices, while you were at Wal-Mart buying underwear and razor blades.
That nickle you save in the expertise department could cost you your business. If people expect expertise to come with your product, then they need to actually find expertise.
For most PR people, it used to be a 9 to 5 job - unless you worked for a truly large company (the kind that attracted network/cable news coverage), you could safely ignore the world from Friday evening to Monday morning. That's gone now - it hasn't been the case for a few years. This point is made pretty well in an article about the demise of print news:
In the meantime, public relations professionals need to recognize that the days of daily deadlines are also coming to an end. Sooner rather than later, virtually every publication will be deadline-free, because no journalist will ever have to say, "We're going to press at 7:00 P.M." This will change the playing field, giving public relations pros more time to respond to some stories, but less time to deal with breaking news, especially bad news.
Especially for bad news, there's no time lag anymore - you simply have to deal with it in real time. We now live in a world where things can go viral on blogs, on YouTube, on Twitter - the list is endless. At the same time, getting news out that puts you in a positive light is getting harder. The old world of a handful of trade press people you needed to deal with is gone - and the new outlets are doing at least national, and probably global, reporting.
TechCrunch has a bunch of emails (with identifying information pulled out) from people explaining why they left Google. There's nothing telling in there, but I did find this interesting - from one of the emails:
One last thing: Google also thinks inside a box (the browser). I felt this a lot, and was another reason I left. (too constrained) It's no surprise that they push to extend what the browser can do. (Gears, Earth plugin)
I think every large company (and many smaller ones, for that matter) end up engaging in "in the box" thinking. It might start as outside thinking, but in the end, it results in a new box inside of which company culture lives. That's not necessarily a bad thing until the company gets so big that the box actively prevents new ideas (Microsoft may have reached this point, and the IBM of the early 80's was deeply in that state).
Short of a corporate crisis, this just seems to be the norm. Apple managed to escape that - the question being, was that a function of Steve Jobs alone? We'll find out over the next few months.
Technorati Tags: corporate culture
If you want an example of what not to do, here it is: don't pay people to post positive reviews of your product, whether they own it or not. For extra stupid points, don't pay people to mark as "not helpful" the bad reviews of your product. Unless, of course, you want to end up looking very, very stupid.
Update: Mathew Ingram explains just how this kind of thing backfires:
As I've often said when I talk to groups of marketing people about social media, this kind of strategy -- or even Wal-Mart's disastrous motor-home adventure -- seem like a great idea, right up until someone finds out about it and blows the whistle (and surely by now everyone knows that's going to happen eventually, the Internet being what it is). And when that happens, you will not only lose whatever goodwill you thought you were buying with your 65-cent reviews, but you will lose a bunch more besides. You will wind up in a hole, since people will now believe that even things you didn't pay for were either paid for or fraudulent in some way.
I hadn't really noticed, but there were some changes to the code critic between VW 7.5 and 7.6. Here are two screenshots - the first being 7.5, the second being 7.6:
You'll notice that the "Miscellaneous" category is missing in 7.6, and, if you look through and compare, there's been a general reorganization. It's also the case that four checks have been deprecated, amongst them the "long method" check. I'm not claiming that these are great checks; for instance, the "long methods" check calls anything over 10 lines "long" - kind of a subjective thing.
Having said that, I recently received a question from a colleague, who was relaying a concern from an academic customer. For teaching purposes, he liked the "long methods" check. So the question arose, how do you bring those rules back into play? As it happens, it's not hard - you need to make two small changes
First, modify BasicLintRule class>>protocols to look like this:
protocols ^ OrderedCollection new add: ( #Bugs << #browser >> 'Bugs' ) -> 'bugs'; add: ( #PossibleBugs << #browser >> 'Possible bugs' ) -> 'possible bugs'; add: ( #UnnecessaryCode << #browser >> 'Unnecessary code' ) -> 'unnecessary code'; add: ( #IntentionRevealing << #browser >> 'Intention revealing' ) -> 'intention revealing'; add: (#Miscellaneous << #browser >> 'Miscellaneous') -> 'miscellaneous'; yourself
That's almost enough. Now you need to go to class BlockLintRule and rename the protocol category "deprecated" to "miscellaneous". Alternatively, you could just use the name "deprecated" in the #protocols method above and leave everything else alone. After doing that, you'll see this in 7.6:
In general, if you want to add new rules you can look in class BlockLintRule - the class methods are the rules, and the categories are the rule category names that show up in the Code Critic tab of the browser.
PCWorld reports that our new President intends to hold onto his BlackBerry:
President-elect Barack Obama told CNN today he had a plan to "hang onto" his beloved BlackBerry, but did not explain how he would overcome legal and security concerns
I find this fascinating - Bush gave up email in 2001, due to concerns about private communications being caught up in the public records laws. It'll be interesting to see how modern communications technology interfaces with all of that.
On a side note - can you imagine how ecstatic the folks at RIM must be over this? You can't buy better publicity...
PC World is reporting that VisualHub is being (kind of) resurrected in open source form. It sounds like it's a not terribly well connected set of pieces yet, but this is good news. VisualHub is a really, really nice little app.
Update: I should mention that I happily bought VisualHub a few years ago, and love the product.
The Cincom Smalltalk site has been updated - same old server, new look and feel. Let us know what you think!
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we finish up the small series on scripting a runtime image build. Instead of stripping down, we use a base image (provided by Cincom) to do a "build up" approach. You can find "base.im" in $VISUALWORKS/preview/packaging.
To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
or on YouTube:
According to NPD Group statistics, Nintendo sold a record 10.17 million Wii consoles to US Americans in 2008. That trumps Nintendo's own record of 9.95 million consoles sold in the relatively healthy 2007 economic climate. Nintendo added to its money pile by hawking 9.95 million DS handhelds for the year compared to the 8.52 million sold in 2007. Those tallies represent 55% of all consoles and 72% of all handheld consoles sold in the US.
To really grasp how much Nintendo is winning, follow the link to see the pie chart. It's amazing.
Here's the audio-only of Phillippe's talk at ESUG 2008 - you can go here to see the video from the talk. To listen, click on the image below:
Update: Presentation has been removed at the speaker's request
Here's Phillippe Marschall at ESUG 2008, issuing a "call to action" - he wants to see Smalltalk application deployment made easier. There should be a link to his presentation here, but the link isn't resolving right now. To watch, click on the image below:
Update: Presentation has been removed at the speaker's request
You might get bad results for the main Smalltalk site on an on/off basis for a bit - I'm preparing to swap over to a new site design, and there's always the possibility of hiccups...
Good thing I have a window - here's what the Weather Channel says it's like right now:
Meanwhile, the reality channel says:
I decided to stop pounding my head against the walls of port 5190 (the default port for AIM), and looked at what possibilities there are for using alternate ports. A quick search showed that you can specify a few other possibilities, and one of those worked for me - so, using iChat, I'm back on the service.
It's always something...
Now Listening to: California Dreamin' by The Mamas & The Papas from: 16 Greatest Hits
Today's Smalltalk Daily continues from yesterday's screencast - we add a custom emergency handler for the runtime, and set up a default log file for capturing error reports. To watch it, click on the image below:
You can also watch on VImeo:
Or on YouTube:
I had no idea anyone still made LaserDisc players - and now they don't anymore!
Pioneer is ceasing production of their three remaining LaserDisc players, marking the end of major manufacture for players of the giant, shiny, long-obsolete format.
Supposedly, there was a market in Japan for these things until recently. I seriously had no idea that format was still viable...
Now Listening to: Hope Has A Place by Enya from: The Memory Of Trees
You can tell that things are tough all over: Google is starting to clean house a little. They are shuttering a bunch of services that have either been superseded (Google Video), or been eclipsed by the competition (Jaiku):
Googleâs announced theyâre closing or ceasing development of a variety of products as part of an already continuing move to keep efforts focused on other products with greater usage. These include an end to video uploads to Google Video, closure of Google Catalog Search, Google Notebook, Dodgeball, the microblogging service Jaiku and the Google Mashup Editor.
And, they are laying off a bunch of people who do hiring for them as well. Not a huge surprise; even a generally successful company like Google has to be seeing problems in this economy.
Technorati Tags: google
Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence from Apple, for health reasons:
In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
All I can say is, good luck and get well.
Today's Smalltalk Daily covers a topic that lots of people are interested in: scripting the build of a runtime image. I give a simple example of that today, without using Runtime Packager. To watch, click on the image below:
You can also watch it on Vimeo:
Wow, Apple has actually released its all too common death grip on a technology and allowed it to become a standard? Seems un-possible, but there it is: the stock mini-display port on the new Macs is going to be an industry standard:
The Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA, said last week as CES began that DisplayPort 1.2 should include Mini DisplayPort as part of the DisplayPort 1.2 specification.
It's not known whether the officially approved Mini DisplayPort will involve the full range of features from 1.2, but it will let any company building a computer or graphics card adopt the port with the blessing of the standards group and know that it will work with other 1.2-supporting hardware.
I'd say that means Apple is continuing to move into the consumer space - they need to have lots of devices that work with their stuff if they want to make that play.
Now Listening to: Monsters by Blue Öyster Cult from: Cultosaurus Erectus
Local Media may be having problems, but they still seem to have more pull than a paying customer - the Consumerist chronicles the year long saga of cables being left lying across driveways and gutters:
Ms. Franz tried showing the cables to some techs who came to repair her family's service over the summer. They didn't fix it. She also tried contacting Comcast's Twitter team - they at least called her back - but didn't fix the problem. Finally, it took a call from the Baltimore Sun before any Comcast trucks showed up.
There are times when you have to get someone in the PR department to notice before anything happens and - for good or ill - local media can get their attention, while normal people just can't. There are bloggers that have the same level of pull that the old media has, but not many. And most of them aren't paying attention to small scale stuff like this.
Here's where a nice matchup between local bloggers and local media could work though. It's unlikely that an entity like the Baltimore Sun is going to notice something like this story - but a local blogger might, and, if he/she is working with the Sun on an ad-hoc basis then boom - you get fairly complete local coverage, from top to bottom. The Sun can get the meetings with local powers (governments, etc) that the bloggers can't, while the bloggers can stream in leads that the Sun is simply not going to find.
Now Listening to: If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow from: Sheryl Crow
This is pretty cool: BottomFeeder is in a "top ten Linux Aggregators" list. Pretty cool stuff. BottomFeeder is the Smalltalk RSS/Atom reader I started writing back in 2002. You can download and try it yourself here.
Now Listening to: Magnum Opus by Kansas from: Leftoverture
Over in the UK, they are trying to filter out illegal content at the ISP level. The problem? The blacklist filters cast way, way too big a net over things:
According to multiple customers of Demon Internet - now owned by Brit telecom Thus - the London-based ISP is blocking access to all sites stored in the archive. When they query the Wayback Machine, hoping to retrieve archived pages, customers are met with generic "not found" error pages. But judging from their urls, these pages are generated by a web filter based on the blacklist compiled by the Internet Watch Foundation, a government-backed organization charged with policing online pornography.
This is where well intentioned - but too simple - schemes go awry. I've seen this kind of thing myself. I have a simple minded filter for comments on the blogs here, and it's been known to block legitimate comments based on accidental matches against poorly chosen keywords. Basically, when you decide to filter, you have to decide what level of false positive you're willing to put up with. Sure, Baysian filters do a better job - but heck, even there, I have to continually go in and check the junk folder. For awhile, my mail client had decided that everything our company President sent was spam. None of these systems are perfect.